FOB DUKE, Iraq -- After more than five days of fighting in the ancient city of An Najaf between elements of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and Iraqi security forces against members of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Muqtada Militia the battle still hasn't ended.
But now there's a new element to the equation. The commander of Multi-National Forces in Iraq ordered I Marine Expeditionary Force to assume control of military operations in the Provinces of An Najaf and Al Qadisiyah, Aug. 9.
This change, however, won't alter the MEU's combat operational procedures, it is driven by the desire to increase and enhance the effectiveness of the MNF-I units in the provinces, according to an I MEF news release dated Aug. 10.
As a response to enemy operations, elements of the 11th MEU, now augmented by two reinforced Army infantry battalions and an Army helicopter battalion, continue to seek out and destroy Anti-Iraqi Forces which continue to resist the An Najaf government's rule of law and order.
AIF continue to apply the same tactics they used during operations at the holy cemetery -- launching attacks from the cemetery and surrounding areas, only to immediately run back and seek sanctuary in the mosques and buildings surrounding the Imam Ali Shrine.
The MEU's current combat operations were conducted at the request of the Governor of An Najaf.
In a move to operate efficiently, members of Najaf's Iraqi National Guard and portions of neighboring ING units were put under operational control of the 11th MEU to effectively put an end to AIF and restore peace in An Najaf.