Officials said Kirkuk became the first city in Iraq to come under the
full operational control of the police. They said police acquired
responsibility for the city at the end of a four-week transition period with
the Iraq Army's 15th Brigade.
The Iraq Army intends to focus its activities outside Kirkuk. Officials
said army operations would seek to stop Sunni insurgents, who have targeted
security forces and crude oil infrastructure.
"Their police are fully capable of providing them safety and security,"
At the same time, the Iraq Army has established permanent battle
positions in the Said Abdullah corridor west of Mahmudiyah, a longtime Al
Qaida stronghold. Officials said the deployment by the army's 6th Division
represented an intensification of operations against Al Qaida.
"This is only the start," U.S. Army Capt. Dennis Call, a coordinator of
the effort, said. "For this to actually work, patrols need to constantly
move out from the battle position and engage the populace on a regular