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Petraeus to Hand Over Iraq Command on September 16

U.S. officials say the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, will hand over his post to another commander, Raymond Odierno, later this month.

Officials say Lieutenant-General Odierno will take charge of U.S. forces in Iraq on September 16th. Odierno most recently served as the number-two U.S. commander in Iraq before finishing that assignment earlier this year.

General Petraeus will become the new head of the U.S. Central Command in October. He will have responsibility for a wide region covering the Horn of Africa to Central Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Petraeus arrived in Iraq in February 2007 to oversee a surge of 30,000 U.S. troops, which helped to reduce violence in the country. Security gains have allowed the U.S. to withdraw the five combat brigades that were sent to Iraq as part of the surge.

Other factors that have contributed to declining violence in Iraq include a revolt by Sunni tribes against al-Qaida and a unilateral cease-fire by Shi'ite militants.

In other developments, Baghdad was hit by a series of roadside bombings Sunday that wounded at least 13 people. Elsewhere, the U.S. military says a car bomb went off in the northwestern province of Ninewah near a school, wounding three civilians and an Iraqi soldier.

The military also says coalition forces detained 10 suspected al-Qaida militants in operations Sunday in central and northern Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.