Iraq takes over security control of Babil province from US troops

October 23rd, 2008 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Oct 23 (Xinhua) The Iraqi forces Thursday took over security responsibilities of the central Shia province of Babil from US troops. The two sides signed the transfer document in a televised ceremony, attended by senior US and Iraqi officials, including Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin, the number two commander of US forces in Iraq and Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security advisor.

Rubaie said at the ceremony that the transfer is an “evidence that the abilities of our security forces in encountering terrorism and safeguarding security and stability are increasing.”

Rubaie announced that the Iraqi security forces would soon take over control of security in Wasit province, another Shia province.

“I announce here that in the coming days the security file of Wasit province would be transferred to our forces, so that the number of provinces (under control of Iraqi forces) would be 13, and the rest are coming soon,” Rubaie said.

Babil, with it capital city of Hilla, some 100 km south of Baghdad, would be the 12th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to return to the control of Iraqi security forces.

The other 11 Iraqi provinces handed over by US forces to date are Qadisiyah, Maysan, Muthanna, Basra, Dhi Qar, Najaf, Karbala, Anbar and three Kurdish provinces of Duhuk, Sulaimaniyah and Arbil.

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