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A member of the Iraqi security forces at a checkpoint in Al-Najaf (file photo) (epa)
December 20, 2006 -- U.S.-led forces today formally transferred to Iraqi authorities responsibility for security in the southern province of Al-Najaf.
Speaking at a ceremony in the provincial capital of Al-Najaf, Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i and a U.S. commander, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, called the transfer a "historic" event.
Al-Najaf, which is home to Iraq's most influential Shi'ite Muslim clerics, is the third of Iraq's 18 provinces to be transferred to local control.