Iraqi troops kill five Islamic State militants while sneaking into Salahuddin villages

Iraqi security forces evacuate an injured soldier during heavy fighting against Islamic State group militants in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)

Salahuddin ( – Security forces killed on Tuesday five Islamic State militants who were trying to infiltrate into two villages in Salahuddin province, a security source was quoted as saying.

Speaking to Baghdad Today, the source said, “Security forces prevented Islamic State militants from infiltrating into Kanous and Alhajj Ali villages east of Shirqat in Salahuddin province,” the source said.

“The troops killed five IS militants and seized their weapons,” the source added.

Islamic State lost Shirqat to the U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces and tribal fighters in 2016. Its fall paved the way for the offensive on Mosul, the militants’ de-facto capital in Iraq.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence earlier in November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

The surge in violence between armed groups and government forces has resulted in over 3 million internally displaced persons across Iraq and left more than 11 million in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Iraqi army launched in December an offensive to clear the desert bordering Syria of IS militants. Army, police and paramilitary units were taking part in the operation, which aimed at clearing provinces of Salahuddin, Nineveh and Anbar provinces that form part of a region known as al-Jazirah, from Islamic State.

On Saturday, Dec 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over Islamic State three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq’s territory.

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