Iraqi forces take over security detail for Babel province
Iraq's Babel province Thursday took over its own, Iraqi-led security duties from the Multi-National Forces (MNF).
"Taking responsibility for Babel province shows that the Iraqi forces are capable of taking control of their own security and fighting terrorism," National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said during the handover ceremony, reported dpa.
US soldiers were present at the ceremony along with high-ranking Iraqi officials and clan chiefs. No other nationalities were present. The mostly Shiite province is the 12th to receive its security file.
The Iraqi central government is eager to take over security of all 18 Iraqi provinces. Wasit province, east of Babel, will receive its security file within the coming days, al-Rubaie said.
Since 2006, Diwaniyah, Samarra, Najaf, Karbala Nasiriyah, Amarah, Basra, and Anbar have all received their security files along with the three Kurdish provinces of Arbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk.
The capital of Babel is Hillah, site of the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon. It is some 100 kilometres south of Baghdad. After the US-led invasion in 2003 the city witnessed many bloody terrorist attacks.