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Iraqi government takes control of Karbala

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Baghdad, Oct 29, IRNA
The Iraqi government on Monday took control of Karbala province in a ceremony where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said his government will take over security of Basra in December.

The occupation forces have now handed over security responsibility of eight provinces to the Baghdad government so far.

"Iraqi security forces in Karbala have been successfully operating independently, maintaining their own security for the past three months," US Ambassador in Baghdad Ryan Crocker and US commander David Petraeus said in a statement to the ceremony.

The Iraqi government had hoped to assume responsibility for security in all Iraqi provinces by the end of the year, but the Pentagon said in its quarterly Iraq report in September that this was now likely to happen in July 2008.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that the southern city of Basra would be transferred from British control in mid-December.

The US has ceded security of the country under occupation to private companies which are responsible for corruption and deaths of innocent civilians in the country.

Blackwater, which has secured over dlrs one billion dollars contracts so far and its mandate has expired has been found accountable for deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians.

The Iraqi government has protested to Washington over illegal presence of US private security companies, calling for termination of their contracts.


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