BAGHDAD, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Four Islamic State (IS) militants were killed and various IS weapons destroyed on Tuesday during the third successive day of a major offensive launched to hunt down IS remnants in desert areas in central and northern Iraq.
A statement by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said the troops, backed by the army's gunships, continued their push in three routes to clear the desert in the northern province of Nineveh and managed to kill four IS militants and destroy one of their vehicles and some equipment.
In the central province of Salahudin, the Iraqi forces continued their clearing operations as they advanced in five routes, and found a bomb-making site containing 11 anti-armor bombs and other equipment used in manufacturing bombs, the statement said.
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 IS remnants and to destroy their hideouts.
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.