60 IS militants killed in airstrikes in Iraq

A total of 60 militants of the Islamic State (IS) group were killed in earlier airstrikes in a mountainous area in Salahudin province, north of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, the Iraqi military said on Wednesday.

The Iraqi aircraft, in coordination with the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), conducted airstrikes on IS hideouts on March 25 in Himreen mountain range, leaving 60 IS militants killed, Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, said in a statement.

On March 24, Rasoul said in a statement that the Iraqi security forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft, launched the offensive on March 9 and continued for 14 days in the Makhmour mountain range in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, destroying 120 IS positions and killing 27 IS militants.

According to Rasoul, March’s offensive forced the IS militants to flee to alternative hideouts in Himreen Mountain in Salahudin province.

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.