Iraqi forces clear farmland near Baghdad of IS militants

Iraqi security forces sweep villages, farmland north of Baghdad to clear out any remaining IS militants

TARMIYAH, Iraq -- Iraqi security forces were sweeping villages and farmland north of Baghdad on Tuesday as part of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Islamic State group from around the capital.

Iraq declared victory against IS in July 2017, but the extremists, who once controlled much of northern and western Iraq, have continued to carry out attacks, including ambushes and kidnappings.

Maj. Gen. Jalil al-Rubaie, commander of the Baghdad Operations Command, described it as a "well planned operation" and urged residents of Tarmiyah to cooperate with security forces. Much of the area is sparsely populated farmland, which militants have used to launch attacks on security forces.

Al-Rubaie said the operation was meant to reassure the population in and around Baghdad about security in the region.