'We are brothers': U.S. transfers control of much of Baghdad

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

BAGHDAD The U.S. Army has handed over the security of a major part of Baghdad to Iraq's military.

In what was termed one of the largest transfers of operations, the U.S.-led coalition handed over security responsibility for several parts of Baghdad to the Iraq Army. The areas where Iraqi authorities would assume responsibility were identified as western Baghdad and eastern Abu Ghraib.

The handover was conducted by the U.S. Army's 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. In a ceremony on March 2, the Iraq Army's Sixth Division, 3rd Brigade, assumed security responsibility, Middle East Newsline reported.

"We are comrades," Iraqi Brig. Gen. Aziz Noor, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, said. "The Iraqi army and the American forces are brothers. We bleed together. We shed tears over the same fallen comrades."

Officials said the transfer of security responsibility was one of the largest since 2004. They said western Baghdad and Abu Ghraib contained key facilities and marked a major test of the Iraqi security forces.

"The American forces are giving freedom back to the people of Iraq, just as they did in Japan, Germany and Korea," Aziz said. "We are receiving this area of responsibility and the job to protect it. God willing, we will be able to do so."

The Iraqi and U.S. brigades have been patroling Baghdad since mid-2005. The U.S. 1st Brigade helped train and mentor the Iraqi 3rd Brigade.

"Never have I seen a group of soldiers learn so quickly and advance so efficiently," U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey Snow, 1st BCT commander, said.

Copyright 2006 East West Services, Inc.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts

Search Worldwide Web Search