BAGHDAD, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), backed by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft, on Saturday carried out a large-scale operation in the central Salahudin province, killing three Islamic State (IS) militants and destroying several hideouts.
The CTS operation was conducted in the mountains of Makhoul and Khanouga and the areas between the towns of Baiji and al-Shirqat in the northern part of the province, Mohammed al-Bazi from the provincial police told Xinhua.
During the operation, the CTS troops killed three IS militants and destroyed dozens of IS tunnels and hideouts, as well as seizing different weapons and ammunition, al-Bazi said.
Iraqi security forces repeatedly carried out operations to clear rugged and mountainous areas in eastern and northern parts of Salahudin province, but the vast areas and hard terrain have made it difficult for them to completely clear the area of the extremist militants.
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.