BAGHDAD, July 18 (Xinhua) -- A total of eight Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Thursday in an airstrike by the U.S.-led international coalition aircraft in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh and an ambush by security forces in the eastern Diyala province.
In the northern Nineveh province, the U.S.-led coalition aircraft acted on intelligence reports from Nineveh's Operations Command and carried out an airstrike on an IS hideout in al-Baaj area near the border with Syria, a statement by the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said.
The airstrike resulted in the killing of six IS militants and the destruction of the hideout, the statement said.
Separately in Diyala, a joint force from the Iraqi army and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi members killed two IS militants and wounded four others in an ambush between at a rural area near the city of Jalawla, 135 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the JOC said in a separate statement.
Despite repeated military operations in Diyala, some 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 the northern part of the province.
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.