At least 27 militants of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group were killed in an offensive targeting IS positions in a mountainous area in northern Iraq, the Iraqi military said on Wednesday.
Iraqi security forces, backed by US-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft, launched the offensive on March 9 and continued for 14 days in the Makhmour mountain range in southeast of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul, Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, said in a statement.
The offensive included 312 airstrikes that destroyed 120 IS positions and caves used by the extremist militants, leaving an unknown number of IS militants killed inside the bombarded sites, while snipers from the security forces spotted and killed 27 of those who escaped the attacked positions, the statement said.
The mountains and vast rugged areas in the north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad have witnessed intense activities of the IS militants during the past months, despite repeated military operations to hunt them down.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since Iraqi security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country late in 2017.
However, IS group remnants have since melted in urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.