BAGHDAD, June 23 (Xinhua) -- A total of three Islamic State (IS) militants were killed and four others captured by Iraqi security forces in an operation in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a security official said on Sunday.
Diyala's provincial police and intelligence service have been conducting a week-long operation to hunt down recruitment cells for IS suicide bombers in the province through raiding their hideouts, Sadiq al-Husseini, head of the security committee of the provincial council, told Xinhua.
The operation, which was based on accurate intelligence, resulted in the killing of three would-be suicide bombers affiliated with IS group and the capturing of four others who used to provide logistic support for the suicide bombers, al-Husseini said without giving further details.
Despite repeated military operations in the Diyala province, remnants of IS militants are still hiding in some rugged areas near the border with Iran, and in the sprawling areas extending from the western part of the province to the Himreen mountain range in north of the provincial capital Baquba.
The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.
IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.