A soldier and two Islamic State (IS) militants were killed in clashes in a rugged area in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala, the Iraqi military said.
An army force clashed with IS militants during an operation to hunt down the extremist militants near Himreen Lake, nearly 80 km northeast of the provincial capital Baquba, killing a soldier and two IS militants while injuring another two soldiers, Captain Mohammed al-Timimi from the Iraqi army told Xinhua news agency on Sunday.
The clashes ended after the Iraqi helicopter gunships were called in to carry out airstrikes on IS positions, al-Timimi added.
Despite repeated military operations in the Diyala province, remnants of IS militants are still hiding in some rugged areas near the border with Iran and the sprawling area extending from the western part of the province to the Himreen mountain range, including Himreen Lake northern of Baquba, which itself located nearly 65 km northeast of Baghdad, Xinhua news agency reported.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the IS in 2017. However, its remnants have since melted into urban centres, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.