At least 5 IS militants killed in airstrike, anti-IS operation in western Iraq

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BAGHDAD, June 24 (Xinhua) -- At least five Islamic State (IS) militants were killed Monday in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft and an operation by a paramilitary Hashd Shaabi force in the western province of Anbar, the Iraqi military said.

Acting on intelligence reports, the U.S.-led coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike on IS positions in Akashat area near the town of al-Qaim, some 400 km northwest of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Yahia Rasoul, spokesman for the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

The airstrike resulted in the killing of five extremist IS militants, the JOC said in a brief statement.

Also in the province, a paramilitary Hashd Shaabi force conducted an operation against IS hideouts in al-Qaim desert on the border with Syria, a statement by Hashd Shaabi said.

The operation resulted in the killing of many IS militants and the destruction of a four-wheel drive vehicle, the statement said, without giving further details.

IS militants are still active in the vast Anbar desert which stretches to the border with neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as many civilians have been kidnapped or killed by the extremist group recently.

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. Enditem

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