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British Forces have formally ended combat operations in Iraq today in a move that means they are finally returning home after more than six years. The drawdown of the bulk of the 3,700 UK troops remaining in Iraq will now speed up in the coming days.
Britain formally passed authority for operations in southern Iraq to US forces.
The move - a month earlier than timetabled - was disclosed as Defence Secretary John Hutton flew into Basra for a service to honour the 179 British personnel.