BAGHDAD, July 11 (Xinhua) -- A total of 11 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed and eight others arrested by Iraqi security forces, while many hideouts and explosive devices were destroyed in the first phase of a major anti-IS offensive started earlier in the month, the Iraqi military said on Thursday.
A statement by the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said the first phase of the offensive resulted in the killing of 11 IS militants and arresting of eight others, as well as destroying of as many as 101 hideouts, seven tunnels and five bomb-making workshops.
The troops also destroyed 54 explosive devices, two car bombs and seized large caches of different kinds of weapons and ammunition, the statement said.
During the first phase, the U.S.-led international coalition aircraft conducted 77 sorties, while the Iraqi army's helicopters and warplanes conducted 41 sorties, according to the statement.
On July 7, a JOC statement said the Iraqi soldiers and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units, backed by Iraqi and international aircraft, started a major offensive to hunt down remnants of IS militants in the desert and rugged areas of the provinces of Anbar, Salahudin and Nineveh to the border areas with neighboring Syria.
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.