Four militants of the Islamic State (IS) group, including the group's leader in Anbar province, were killed in an airstrike in western Iraq, the Iraqi military said.
Acting on intelligence reports, the Iraqi armed forces attacked a truck carrying the IS leader nicknamed Abu Mansour in Anbar, and three other militants in a desert area near the town of Rutba, nearly 390-km west of the capital Baghdad, the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said in a statement on Sunday. An army force later searched the targeted site and found four bodies, a destroyed truck, two explosive belts, two rifles and a pistol, according to the statement.
Abu Mansour is one of those responsible for targeting citizens on the Baghdad-Amman international road in the al-Rutba area, and held several positions in the IS group in Iraq and Syria, according to a separate statement released by the Intelligence Service of the Interior Ministry.
Iraqi security forces have been fighting IS militants over the past few months to crack down on their intensified activities, Xinhua news agency reported.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the IS in 2017. The IS remnants have since spread to urban centres, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against the security forces and civilians.