Two Iraqi soldiers were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up during an army raid targeting ISIS north of Baghdad, security sources said.
A trapped militant “detonated his explosives belt, killing a major and another soldier, also wounding three others,” an interior ministry source told AFP, asking not to be named.
A second extremist was killed when he also tried to set off a suicide bomb in the army operation in the rural area of Tarmiya, the source said.
ISIS overran large swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014 before Baghdad declared victory in late 2017 after a grinding campaign.
But low-level extremism has persisted, particularly in rural areas north of Baghdad around the city of Kirkuk and in the eastern provinces of Diyala and Salaheddin.
On Tuesday, Iraqi military command spokesman Yahya Rassoul said “43 ISIS elements” had been killed in a recent operation in the northern province of Niniveh, of which the former Mosul is the capital.
According to a UN report last year, some 10,000 ISIS terrorists remain active in Iraq and Syria.