BAGHDAD, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Three Islamic State (IS) militants were killed and several IS hideouts and weapons were destroyed Monday during a major offensive launched to hunt down remnants of IS militants in desert areas in central and northern Iraq.
A statement by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said the Iraqi forces continued their advance for the second successive day, while the helicopter gunships bombed a vehicle in Nineveh province, killing three IS militants aboard.
The paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units seized a vehicle used by IS militants in one of the valleys of a rugged area in Nineveh province, the statement said.
In the central province of Salahudin, the troops found four car bomb-making sites and some 30 Katuysha rockets as well as a roadside-making site, six artillery projectiles and a number of mortar rounds and different rockets, the statement added.
In the western province of Anbar, the troops continued their advance and managed to destroy an IS hideout and detonated three roadside bombs at a village in the province, while the army's helicopters bombed a vehicle used by IS militants, according to the statement.
On Sunday, the Iraqi soldiers and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units, backed by Iraqi and international aircraft, pushed in multiple routes in the three provinces of Nineveh, Salahudin and Anbar to chase the remnants of IS militants and to destroy their hideouts, according to a statement by Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah, deputy commander of JOC.
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.