24 Islamic State militants killed in Iraq

Baghdad: A total of 24 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed in a security operation and airstrikes in Salahudin province in north of Baghdad, the Iraqi military said on Friday.

The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), backed by the Iraqi and international coalition aircraft, carried out a two-day operation against IS hideouts in the mountainous area of al-Khanouga in the northern part of the province, the CTS said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

The operation resulted in the killing of 16 IS militants in the first day and eight others in the second, the statement said without exactly specifying the days.

The Iraqi and coalition airstrikes destroyed a number of IS hideouts and several caves and tunnels, where the militants were holed up, the statement added.

The operation came as the extremist IS militants have intensified their attacks on the security forces, including Hashd Shaabi forces, and civilians in the formerly IS-controlled Sunni provinces, resulting in the killing and wounding of dozens.

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 guerrilla attacks against security forces and civilians.