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Iraqi Shi'a Protest Al-Fallujah Brigade Commander

Iraqis are to replace U.S. Marines in Al-Fallujah 3 May 2004 -- Three Shi'ite members of the U.S.-installed Iraqi Governing Council are criticizing a U.S. decision to place a former Iraqi general at the head of a new security force in the conflict-ravaged town of Al-Fallujah.

The three council members released a statement today saying such a force would represent "an extension of Saddam's army."

Unconfirmed reports say the U.S. military has appointed Muhammad Latif, a former army commander under Saddam Hussein, to lead the so-called Al-Fallujah Brigade. Previously, it was thought that another former Iraqi general, Jassim Muhammad Salih, would take that post.

Meanwhile, fighting between militants and U.S. forces flared in the southern Iraqi city of Al-Najaf again today. Two Iraqis, including a policeman, were reportedly killed in the violence.