BAGHDAD, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- A total of three Iraqis were killed Saturday in an Islamic State (IS) attack on a security outpost in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a local official and a security source said.
The incident took place in the early hours of the day when the extremist IS militants waged an attack on a border guard's outpost near the village of Mikhas at the edge of the city of Khanaqin, some 165 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Mikhas Mayor Burhan Ahmed told Xinhua.
A fierce clash erupted between the attackers and the guards, who are originally residents of the village, which lies about one kilometer away from the outpost, Ahmed said.
The clash prompted the villagers to rush to the scene to support their relatives and friends in the outpost, but some of villagers were caught in the cross-fire, killing two brothers and their cousin, Ahmed said, adding that the two brothers were security members on leave.
Saad Hassan, a local police source, told Xinhua that the security situation in the area is stable now after the withdrawal of the IS militants.
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 in late 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.