BAGHDAD, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The extremist Islamic State (IS) militants kidnapped eight people near a town in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala on Thursday, a local official said.
The incident took place in the evening when the militants set up a fake checkpoint on a main road near the town of Qara-Tappa and kidnapped seven people, including three students, Wasfi al-Timimi, mayor of the town, told Xinhua.
Iraqi security forces and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces launched a search looking for the kidnapped people, al-Timimi said.
During the search, the troops found a car with family members left alone on the road after the militants kidnapped the father who was driving, al-Timimi added.
Despite repeated military operations in Diyala province, remnants of 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 north of the provincial capital Baquba.
The security situation in Iraq has been greatly improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.