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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
In pictures: Muthanna handover

Major General John Cooper and the local governor

Maj Gen John Cooper, the general officer commanding South East Area, handed back responsibility for security to the local governor in Muthanna.

An Iraqi soldier holding a decorative flowers

Locals went to great lengths to ensure that decorations were in place to provide an attractive backdrop to the handover ceremony.

Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki addressed an audience during the ceremony, which was held at a sports stadium.

Supporters salute Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki

Supporters were on hand to salute Iraqi President Nouri al Maliki at the ceremony.

Iraqi security forces on parade

Iraqi security forces went on a parade to commemorate the event, which was the first handover of its kind.

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