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Iraqi 2nd Army Brigade Ready to Take Over Babil Province

American Forces Press Service

HILLAH, Iraq, Nov. 30, 2005 – The 2nd Iraqi Army Brigade here successfully completed its certification process Nov. 29, military officials reported.

From Nov. 24 to 27, military instructors from Multinational Division Central South tested the combat readiness of 2nd Brigade headquarters and sub-units.

The exam confirmed that the brigade is ready to plan and conduct military activities independently, officials said, opening the way for coalition forces to hand over security responsibility in Iraq's Babil province to Iraqi army units.

From now on, 2nd Brigade will plan and conduct independent operations within its area of responsibility, officials said. Multinational division support will be given only in emergencies by a quick-reaction force, medical evacuation or air support. Multinational division military advisers and trainers will still monitor 2nd Brigade activities, officials said.

The 2nd Brigade consists of two battalions located in different places within the province. It numbers about 1,800 soldiers equipped in light armored vehicles with a variety of weapons. The brigade has taken part in five combat operations so far in cooperation with coalition forces.

During these operations, 2nd Brigade soldiers searched hundreds of vehicles, persons and buildings, seizing illegal weapons and a large amount of ammunition and detaining many terrorism suspects.

During Iraq's Oct. 15 constitutional referendum, the 2nd Brigade established 41 checkpoints and 12 mobile patrols, effectively preventing any attacks.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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