BAGHDAD, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Altogether five Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Tuesday in an airstrike by an army gunship in Iraq's western province of Anbar, the Ministry of Defense said.
The incident took place when the gunship came under fire while flinging on an area located north of the town of al-Qaim near the border with Syria, prompting the helicopter to fire back, the ministry said in a statement.
The airstrike resulted in the killing of five IS militants, the destruction of their vehicle, and the destroying of a nearby booby-trapped car, said the statement, which also included pictures from the bombed scene showing a truck on fire and soldiers collecting weapons and ammunition from the site.
The incident took place as the helicopter was conducting a support mission to Iraqi security forces who were part of a major offensive aimed at hunting down the extremist militants in the desert areas in western Iraq.
The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants late in 2017, and the Iraqi forces repeatedly carried out operations to control the whole border areas with Syria and nearby desert in western Iraq.
However, small groups or individuals of IS militants frequently tried to infiltrate into Iraq from neighboring Syria through the roughly 1000-km-long border with Iraq with vast rugged areas and desert land in an attempt to regroup in Iraq again.