Iraqi PM removes commanders in Basra amid deteriorating security

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki relieved the top two security officials in Iraq's second largest city Monday, officials said in a sign of growing concern about security in the nation's oil capital since British forces handed over control of the city last year. Two Iraqi officials said the police chief of Basra, Maj. Gen. Abdul-Jalil Khalaf, and the commander of the city's joint military-police operation, Lt. Gen. Mohan al-Fireji, have been replaced. But the two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to release the information. The changes were reported as al-Maliki flew to Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, to review the security situation. Two weeks ago, thousands demonstrated near the Basra police headquarters with demands both security officers resign.