U.S. and Iraqi military officials, along with about 500 local residents, attended the opening of a town hall in a city long plagued by insurgents who destroyed government and security facilities.

The Jurf al-Sakr town hall was opened Tuesday in the town south of Baghdad. The four-room building will be the home of city government branches including public works — trash collection, sanitation, water — along with an office for the tribal and city “leader” of the town.

“The opening of the Jurf town hall is just another indicator of the progress that continues to occur in the area,” said Col. Timothy Newsome, commander of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. “An area that this time last year was, in fact, a staging base for [al-Qaida in Iraq] operations in the middle of the Euphrates River Valley.”

The fate of government buildings in Jurf has long been rocky. The police station had been bombed and rebuilt three times in recent years.

Many other buildings have also been damaged.

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