5 IS militants killed in airstrikes in Iraq

Five militants of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group were killed in three airstrikes in Salahudin province north of capital Baghdad, the Iraqi military said on Friday.

A statement by the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said that the Iraqi army’s gunships bombed an IS hideout during a search campaign in the al-Eith area, east of the provincial capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The airstrike resulted in the killing of three IS militants and the destruction of a tunnel, JOC said.

Separately, the JOC said in another statement that the international coalition aircraft carried out two airstrikes, one in the al-Tharthar area in the western part of Salahudin province and the other in the rugged area of Mteibijah in the eastern part of the province.

The two airstrikes resulted in the killing of two IS militants and the destruction of two caves used by IS militants and two IS hideouts, according to the statement.

The mountains and vast rugged areas north of Baghdad have witnessed intense activities of the IS militants during the past months, despite repeated military operations to hunt them down.

The security situation in Iraq has been improving since Iraqi security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country late in 2017.

However, IS remnants have since melted in urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.