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Control of the 2,100 Marines and sailors assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit shifted Monday from the Polish-led Multi-National Division Central-South to the Fallujah-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

The 11th MEU arrived in Iraq last month, taking up bases in An Najaf and Al Qadisiyah provinces.

Recently, the Marines have been fighting Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Medhi militia around the holy city of Najaf.

The control change was made, according to a coalition news release, because the Marines share a “commonality in command and control systems [and was] driven by the desire to increase and enhance the effectiveness of the MNF units in the provinces.”

The 1st MEF has been responsible for Iraq’s Al Anbar province, which covers most of western Iraq, since March.

The MEU left San Diego in May, about a month earlier than planned, according to the release, “in response to a request from U.S. Central Command for more forces in Iraq.”

The Marines will be deployed to Iraq for an undetermined length of time.

The MEU is composed of a command element, two companies of the 4th Marine Regiment’s Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, the reinforced Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 and MEU Service Support Group 11.


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