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An Iraqi unit has become the first Iraqi division in Anbar to be given “operational control” over its own soldiers, U.S. military officials said Friday.

The 1st Iraqi Army Division — one of two Iraqi divisions in the volatile western province of Anbar — now falls under the purview of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command.

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. W.E. Gaskin, commander of Multi-National Force-West, relinquished operational control of the division to Iraqi Maj. Gen. Tariq Abual Wahab Jasim el Azawi in a ceremony at Habbaniyah, officials said.

The Iraqi division’s area of responsibility is centered in the city of Fallujah, but brigades from the division are currently assigned in locations from Baghdad to Ramadi.

“We share a common goal — to provide a secure and stable environment so that Iraq and its citizens can achieve the prosperity they deserve,” Gaskin said, according to a news release.

The Iraqi unit will continue to get logistical and medical support from U.S. troops.


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