Iraqi security forces killed 55 Islamic State (IS) militant during a search campaign in the liberated areas in a town near the city of Tal Afar, the Iraqi military said.

The soldiers of the 15 Infantry Division killed 55 IS militants on Monday, including 26 suicide bombers wearing explosive belts in the town of Ayadhiyah, some 11 km north of Tal Afar, and nearby areas in northwest and east of the town, the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

It said the search and chasing operations are still ongoing in the area looking for more IS militants believed to be hiding in and near Ayadhiyah, Xinhua news agency reported.

On Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared full liberation of the city of Tal Afar and surrounding areas from the extremist IS militants.

“I declare to you that Tal Afar has joined the liberated Mosul and returned to the homeland,” Abadi said in a statement issued by his office.

“The joy of victory has been completed and the entire province of Nineveh has become in the hands of our heroic forces,” Abadi said.

The Prime Minister also vowed to defeat IS group all over Iraq, saying “wherever you (IS militants) are, we are coming for liberation, and you have no choice but to die or surrender.”