Iraq announces a timetable to take formal control of Basra province.
Despite ongoing tensions between rival Shiite factions in Basra, the city had avoided the chaos some predicted would ensue after British troops left their last city center base, the official said.
Britain’s defense ministry said rocket and mortar attacks on their base at Basra airport had fallen sharply in the last month, with only a few attempted strikes.
But Karim al-Miahi, the head of the Basra security committee and a member in the provincial council said, “The withdrawal of the British forces has had a negative effect on security in the city. Iraqi forces still are not able to control the situation which has deteriorated over the past three weeks. There has been an increase in assassinations of police and religious leaders. As for the areas around the British base, the situation is more stable. Shelling there has stopped.”