IS leader killed in operation in eastern Iraq
A local leader of Islamic State (IS) group and his aide were killed on Friday in an operation in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, while the troops captured four extremist militants in the province, a security official said, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Acting on intelligence reports, the Iraqi army pounded an IS hideout with mortar rounds in hills area at the edge of Himreen mountain range in the northern part of Diyala province, killing an IS leader and one of his aides, Sadiq al-Husseini, head of the security committee in Diyala's provincial council, told Xinhua.
The IS leader, nicknamed Abu-Qatada, is responsible for logistic efforts of the extremist group, al-Husseini said.
An Iraqi security force was dispatched to cordon off the area to retrieve the bodies of the killed IS militants, al-Husseini added.
In a separate incident, an intelligence force affiliated with the Iraqi army carried out an operation in south of Diyala's provincial capital Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, and captured four suspected terrorists believed to be involved in eight terrorist attacks, al-Husseini said without giving further details.
Despite repeated military operations in Diyala, some IS militants are still hiding in some rugged areas near the border with Iran, and in the sprawling areas extending from the western part of the province to the Himreen mountain range in the north of Baquba.
The security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.
IS remnants, however, have since melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas as safe havens, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.