BAGHDAD, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Five paramilitary Hashd Shaabi members were killed on Tuesday in an attack by militants of extremist Islamic State (IS) group in Diyala province in eastern Iraq, a security source said.
The Hashd Shaabi forces fought a fierce clash around midday against IS militants at a rugged area in Naft Khana, some 175 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Sadiq al-Husseini, spokesman of Hashd Shaabi forces in Diyala, told Xinhua.
After the clash, the Hashd Shaabi forces conducted a search operation to track down the attackers in the area, al-Husseini said.
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 vast areas extending from the western part of the province to the Hamreen mountain range in the north of the provincial capital Baquba, about 65 km northeast of Baghdad.
The security situation has been relatively improved in Iraq since the Iraqi security forces fully defeated IS militants across the country late in 2017.
However, sporadic deadly incidents still occur in the war-ravaged country as IS remnants have since melted into urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, waging frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians. Enditem