Smoke rising from an ammunition depot during a military operation against Islamic State.
Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, head of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service, said at a press conference that the operation was carried out in two phases by an airborne force on a rugged area north of the town of Rutba, some 400 km west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
All the killed militants were wearing explosive belts, and senior leaders were among the dead, said al-Saadi without revealing the exact date for the beginning of the operation, confirming that the operation is still underway.
Over the past months, Iraqi security forces have conducted operations against extremist militants to crack down on their intensified activities.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the IS group in 2017. However, its remnants have since sneaked into urban centers, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.