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It is the anniversary of the withdrawal of the last US troops from Iraq, early Sunday morning on 18 December 2011.
Withdrawal of US and allied troops, after the 2003 overthrow of the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein and the creation of a new state, was the subject of intense debates by American, European and Iraqi politicians. Many proposals were made but rejected.
In february 2009, US President Obama stated that most US combat troops would withdraw from Iraq by August 31, 2010, leaving a residual force to equip and train Iraqi security forces. On October 21, 2011 Mr Obama confirmed a complete withdrawal of military personnel would occur.
Although the amount of violence has declined since 2006-2007, sectarian violence and bomb attacks have continued in Iraq, killing hundreds of civilians every month.