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Iraq: Army hands security duties over to police in Wasit

Iraqi policemen are seen walking while securing Shiite Muslim pilgrims marching on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad towards the central Iraqi shrine city of Karbala on October 27, 2018, ahead of the Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura, commemorating the seventh century killing of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein. (Photo by SABAH ARAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Iraqi army handed security duties over to the Wasit Police Command, Thursday, 13 years after it took over security in the area.

The police chief, Major General Ali Hassan Halil, announced that the Wasit Police Command had received the security file from the Rafidain Operations Command (affiliated with the Federal Ministry of Defence).

He added that “former police chiefs and officers contributed to upgrading the Wasit Police Command’s level of readiness to handle the security situation in the governorate.”

The police chief stressed “the necessity to secure the squares where protests are taking place and avoid human rights violations when dealing with the demonstrators.”

For his part, spokesman for Wasit Police Command, Hassan Awad, told Anadolu that “the provincial police chief has informed all the deployed security services that the police forces have received the security file from the Rafidain Operations Command.”

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Awad explained that “the police chief is now the commander of all security services affiliated with the Wasit Police Command, as well as the army, except for the Counter-Terrorism Service.”

For his part, General Abdul Karim Khalaf, the spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces told the National Iraqi News Agency that “the army forces will hand over the security file in six governorates, where the protests are taking place, to the Police Command.

He noted: “Except for the Karbala Governorate, which is considered as a sensitive spot, in addition to Dhi Qar and Basra, where the security file will be managed by the Joint Operations Command (the army).”

The governorates, where the police took over the security file, are Babil, Diwaniya, Najaf, Maysan, and Muthanna.

The Iraqi Army has been running the security file in Iraq since 2007, through its Joint Operations Command.

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