BAGHDAD, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- Five Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Tuesday in an operation in Iraq's central province of Salahuddin, a provincial police officer said.
A Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) force, backed by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft, conducted in the early morning a search and clearance operation in the rugged area of Ganous near the city of Shirqat, some 280 km north of Baghdad, Khalil al-Namis, from Salahuddin provincial police command, told Xinhua.
The troops with the air support heavily pounded IS positions in the area, killing five IS militants, and also seized caches of weapons and ammunition, al-Namis said.
He said the search operation will continue until they clear the whole area from IS remnants.
The operation came a day after the CTS troops conducted an airdrop operation in Salahuddin province on IS positions in the rugged area of Mteibijah near the provincial border with neighboring Diyala province, leaving 15 IS militants killed and nine others captured.
Iraqi security forces repeatedly carried out operations to take control of rugged areas in Salahuddin province, but the vast rugged land and nearby Himreen mountainous area have made it difficult for them to completely clear the area of the extremist militants.
The security situation in Iraq has dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated IS militants across the country in later 2017.
IS remnants, however, have since melted into urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent hit-and-run attacks against security forces and civilians.