BAGHDAD, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Eight militants of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group, believed to be local group leaders, were killed on Tuesday by the Iraqi military in a rural area north of the capital Baghdad, the military said.
Acting on intelligence reports, the Iraqi armed forces tracked the militants in al-Tharthar valley in the western part of Salahudin Province and clashed with them after surrounding their hideout, the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.
Later on, Iraqi warplanes and helicopter gunships were called in and carried out three airstrikes that destroyed the hideout and killed the militants inside, according to the JOC statement.
The troops found weapons and logistical equipment at the scene, it added.
Over the past months, Iraqi security forces have conducted operations against the extremist militants to crack down on their intensified activities.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the IS in 2017. However, the IS remnants have since melted into urban centers, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against the security forces and civilians. ■