Baghdad: The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) killed 42 militants of the Islamic State (IS) terror group during an operation in Nineveh province, the country's military has confirmed.
Acting on intelligence reports, the CTS forces backed by Iraqi and international coalition aircraft, stormed into the Ayn al-Jahash area south of the provincial capital of Mosul, the former stronghold of the IS, Xinhua news agency reported citing the military as saying in a statement on Sunday.
The CTS forces were engaged in fierce clashes with IS militants in the area for two successive days, Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, said in the statement.
The troops forced the IS militants to withdraw and hole up in their hideouts in tunnels and caves, prompting the CTS troops to storm their hideouts even with hand grenades, he added.
The operation resulted in the killing of 42 IS militants, including five of their local leaders, and the seizure of weapons and ammunition inside the hideouts, according to Rasoul.
The operation came as the extremist group have intensified their attacks on the security forces and civilians in the formerly IS-controlled Sunni provinces, resulting in the killing and wounding of dozens.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country in 2017.