U.S. hands over security at Basra port to Iraqi forces
BASRA, Iraq — Iraqi forces on Tuesday took charge of security at the oil export terminals at the southern port of Basra from US troops, an Iraqi navy official said.
“Today, we took charge of the oil terminals at Basra from the Americans,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
State-run Al-Iraqiya television also reported that US forces had ended their security presence at the port.
“Iraqi forces took charge of security at the oil port of Basra,” the broadcaster said in a brief report.
The navy official said that “seventy-five percent of the American troops who were at the port left the facility, and the rest have stayed to train Iraqi forces. They will also withdraw gradually,” he added.
He did not give their numbers for security reasons.
The move comes as the remaining 47,000 US troops in Iraq are packing to leave Iraq at the end of this year under the terms of a 2008 security agreement.
Basra, Iraq’s third-largest city and a strategic oil hub, had been under British command since the 2003 US-led invasion, but the province and its airport was returned to Iraqi control in 2009.
Nearly 80 percent of Iraqi oil is exported through the south.