BAGHDAD, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi army on Saturday killed a prominent leader of the Islamic State (IS) militant group in the eastern province of Diyala, a security official said.
The IS military leader, an Iraqi national, was killed when the Iraqi army conducted a barrage of mortar rounds on IS positions in al-Maita area on the provincial border with Salahudin, Sadiq al-Husseini, head of the security committee of Diyala's provincial council, told Xinhua.
Intelligence reports showed the killed leader became the top military leader of Diyala only a few weeks ago after his predecessor was killed in a preemptive operation in Himreen mountainous area in the northern part of Diyala in July, he revealed.
Al-Husseini, however, did not give further details about the killed IS leader.
Despite repeated military operations in Diyala, IS remnants are still hiding in rugged areas near the border with Iran, as well as the sprawling areas extending from the western part of Diyala to Himreen mountainous area.
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 hit-and-run attacks against security forces and civilians.