BAGHDAD, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Two people were killed and 11 others wounded in an overnight attack by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a provincial security source said on Thursday.
The attack occurred late on Wednesday night when IS militants attacked a joint army and police checkpoint near the town of Khanaqin, some 160 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Eisa Abdul Rahman told Xinhua.
During the attack a civilian car was caught in cross fire while approaching the checkpoint, killing two people inside the car, Abdul Rahman said, adding that two security members were also wounded in the checkpoint.
Later on, an army patrol was dispatched to the scene, but was hit by a roadside bomb, wounding two soldiers and an officer, the official said.
The clash between the two sides prompted nearby villagers to take up their arms to support the security forces, but the extremist IS militants opened fire on them and wounded six villagers, Eisa added.
Iraqi security forces rushed to the area and launched a search campaign looking for the attackers who fled the scene, he said.
Despite repeated military operations in the 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 mountainous area in north of the provincial capital Baquba, which itself located some 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces declared they had fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.
However, groups of extremist militants melted or regrouped in urban or in desert and rugged areas, and have been carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down.