BAGHDAD, July 3 (Xinhua) -- A total of 18 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Wednesday in operations by Iraqi security forces and airstrikes by international U.S.-led coalition aircraft, the Iraqi military said.
In Iraq's western province of Anbar, four IS militants were killed and their vehicle destroyed when paramilitary tribal fighters raided their hideout in Akashat area in the desert near the border with Syria, the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.
Also in the province, the international aircraft carried out an airstrike on IS hideout in south of Sneislah Lake in east of the borderline with Syria, killing four of the extremist militants, the statement added.
IS militants are still active in the vast Anbar desert which stretches to the border with neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as many civilians have been kidnapped or killed by the extremist group recently.
In Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, the Iraqi army carried out an anti-IS operation in Sekheirat area in west of the provincial capital Mosul, killing two IS militants and destroying their vehicle, in addition to destroying a tunnel and killing five more IS militants inside, the JOC said in a separate statement.
Separately, the U.S.-led coalition aircraft, based on intelligence reports, bombed an IS vehicle and killed three extremist militants in west of al-Munayif Mountain in a desert area near the border with Syria, a JOC statement said.
The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremists 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.