BAGHDAD, Sept 15 (KUNA) -- US General David Petraeus said on Monday prior
to his departure as Commander of US forces in Iraq that Iraqi forces are ready
to take over control of the country.
General Petraeus arrived in Baghdad to prepare to hand over his role to
General Raymond Odierno, his second-in-command, in a ceremony organized by the
Iraqi defense ministry and will also be attended by US Defense Secretary
Robert Gates on Tuesday.
"Iraqi forces are now capable of taking security matters in all of Iraq,"
General Petraeus, adding that "current military operations are taking over by
General Petraeus farewell ceremony was also attended by Iraqi Defense
Minister Abdul-Qader Al-Obaidi.
There are 110 Iraqi forces regiments who are leading operations in Iraqi,
excluding Iraqi national police and local guards, General Petraeus added.
His remarks came hours after two car bombs exploded in the Baghdad district
of Karrada, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 40.
Arriving for his eighth visit to Iraq since he took over at the Pentagon in
December 2006, Gates said the areas in which US forces would be engaged in
Iraq would continue to narrow.
The US military is also expected to transfer security control in two more
provinces this year, putting Iraqi forces in charge of security in 13 out of
the country's 18 regions.
Odierno, who served as the commander of US forces in Iraq for 15 months
until February, will be promoted to the role of general on Tuesday. (end)
KUNA 160020 Sep 08NNNN