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THOUSANDS of British troops in Iraq are to return home in May, the News of the World can exclusively reveal. PM Tony Blair is to announce he is cutting our contingent in the war-torn country by almost HALF.
At the moment there are just over 7,000 Brit troops based in Southern Iraq. That number will be cut to 4,000.
A withdrawal had not been expected until November, but in a statement to Parliament in the next three weeks Mr Blair will say:
AT least four battalions which had been due to go to Iraq in May — replacing troops returning home — will stay here.
BRITAIN will hand control of Basra province to the Iraqi army and police within months.
THE remainder of British forces in Iraq will withdraw to their permanent base at Basra International Airport.