Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Sunday, 16 December 2007

In pictures: Basra handover

A British solider in Basra

The handover of Basra took place amid tight security at a ceremony at Basra Airport, where British troops took up defensive positions.

Security checks

Before the ceremony got under way, security checks were carried out on those attending. Here, Iraqi women are checked by a British soldier using a handheld metal detector.

The news conference

Against a colourful backdrop, Britain's Maj Gen Graham Binns addresses journalists inside Basra Airport ahead of signing a Memorandum of Understanding formalising the handover.

The formal handover

Maj Gen Graham Binns signs the memorandum, watched by Basra governor, Mohammed al-Waili. Britain would be a "committed friend", said Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

The deal is struck

The handover completed, Maj Gen Graham Binns shakes the hand of Iraq's National Security Adviser, Dr Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

Iraqi soldiers

Following the ceremony, Iraqi soldiers paraded through the streets of Basra.

Iraqi army jeeps

They were accompanied by an impressive array of military hardware, demonstrating the strength of the new guardians of Basra's security.

Iraqi tank

Tanks rolled through the streets during the parade as helicopters flew overhead.

Iraqi policemen

Iraqi police officers, so often the target of suicide bombers, were present in numbers.

Iraqi special forces

Iraqi special forces also marched as residents looked on.

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