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Release A051120d

FOB Danger to be turned over to Iraqi government

Multi-National Force-Iraq

TIKRIT, Iraq — Multi-National Forces will turn over control of the former Saddam Hussein Palace Complex here to Iraqi government officials in a ceremony in Tikrit Nov. 22.

“The planned turnover of the complex to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance and the provincial government will be a landmark event highlighting the increased capability of the Iraqi government to administer and govern itself,” said Col. Billy J. Buckner, Multi-National Corps-Iraq spokesman.

The Tikrit complex consists of more than 1000 acres of land situated on a high bluff overlooking the Tigris River. There are 136 buildings on the property, with a combined 1.5 million square feet of administrative and living space, including 18 palaces. Additionally, there are 60 structures located on the complex grounds used for logistic, utility and maintenance functions.

The centerpiece of the complex is the Presidential Palace built by Saddam Hussein for his mother. It is the largest and most elaborate of the presidential sites built by Saddam Hussein. The construction of the facility began in 1991.

Other palaces within the complex were used as residences for select members of the regime and visiting dignitaries. The complex is located about 90 miles north of Baghdad. Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937, in al Awja, a small village on the outskirts of Tikrit. Because Saddam was a member of the al Bu Nasir tribe, many of his closest advisors and followers were recruited from the Tikrit area.

Since the spring of 2003, the complex has served as the headquarters for the 4th, 1st and the 42nd Divisions. Earlier this year, the 42nd began the task of vacating the complex.

“Although 28 other coalition operating bases have already been turned over to Iraqi Security Forces control this year, the Tikrit Palace complex is the most significant transition of real estate thus far,” said Buckner.

“Soon this place that was once for only an elite few will be a place for the Iraqi People. Instead of representing how one man used Iraq’s wealth, it will represent how Iraq’s wealth can be used for its people,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Taluto, 42nd Infantry Division commander, summarizing the future turnover during his remarks at the 42nd ‘s transition of authority ceremony with the 101st Airborne Division Nov. 1.



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