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Italian Parliament Votes To Keep Troops In Iraq


21 July 2005 -- Italy's lower house of parliament voted today to keep troops in Iraq at least until the end of the year.

Italy has some 3,000 troops in Iraq, the fourth largest foreign contingent there after the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Korea.

Italy is due to start a phased pullout of its forces in September, bringing some 300 troops back home, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has vowed not to hasten the withdrawal despite regular terror threats from extremists.

Following the bomb attacks on London that killed 56 people, opposition lawmakers have put pressure on the Italian government to establish a clear schedule for the withdrawal.

(Reuters)
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