Iraqi forces took control of the central Shiite province of Babil from American troops on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Labour Minister Mahmud Jawad al-Radi's convoy was the target of a suicide blast in Baghdad.
The province south of
With violence at four-year lows, only the capital Baghdad, four ethnically and religiously mixed northern provinces and Wasit province along the Iranian border still require day-to-day U.S. patrols of Iraqi streets.
“This is proof that our military forces have reached self-sufficiency, and can now be depended upon to preserve internal security,” Rubaie said.
Lieutenant-General Lloyd Austin, commander of
“Just a year ago this province was experiencing well over 20 attacks per week. And today attacks are down well over 80 percent. This is truly remarkable,” he said.
Iraqi troops, police and firemen then marched past to the sound of a brass band.
Babil, a vast province named for the ruins of ancient
The triangle was a heartland of the Sunni insurgency against
Babil’s cities have also seen uprisings by followers of anti-American Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr as recently as April this year. But they have been far quieter in recent months as Sadr’s followers have held to a ceasefire.
Date created : 2008-10-23