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U.S. soldiers in Iraq (file photo) 1 July 2004 -- U.S. General George Casey assumed command of U.S. troops in Iraq today, taking over from General Richard Sanchez in a handover ceremony at Camp Victory, the main U.S. military base in Baghdad.

Sanchez spoke of Iraq's future at the ceremony, wishing the country and its people well.

"I hope to return to Iraq some day to show my children the promise and greatness of the Iraqi people. I depart with great optimism and may God bless Iraq with peace and prosperity," Sanchez said.

Sanchez had been criticized recently over the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghurayb prison near Baghdad. Sanchez will remain in Iraq for another week before returning to his former post as commander of the U.S. Army's 5th Corps in Germany.

(AFP/dpa)
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