6 IS militants killed in Iraq's Kirkuk

 6 IS militants killed in Iraq's Kirkuk

- Iraqi security forces on Sunday killed six Islamic State (IS) militants in a clash near the town of Hawijah in Iraq's oil-rich province of Kirkuk, a local police source said.

Acting on intelligence report, a joint force from the local police and government-backed paramilitary tribal fighters raided a house in the evening at a village near Hawijah, some 230 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Capt. Ahmed al-Jubouri from Hawijah police told Xinhua.

The security forces surrounded the house and clashed with suspects holed up inside, leaving six of them killed, Jubouri said.

During the past few months, dozens of IS militants fled their former bases in Salahudin Province and Hawijah in the west of Kirkuk after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas during major anti-IS offensives.

However, IS remnants used hideouts in rugged areas near the rivers of Tigris and Zab as well as Himreen mountainous areas, to continue their almost daily attacks against civilians and Iraqi forces.

On Dec. 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from the IS after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

Nevertheless, small groups and individuals of IS militants manage to carry out sporadic attacks against security forces and civilians despite regular operations to hunt them down.