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Last U.S. Forces Leave Iraq

The U.S. military says the last convoy of U.S. troops has crossed from Iraq into Kuwait -- completing its withdrawal of combat forces from the country.

The final column of around 100 armored vehicles carrying some 500 U.S. troops is reported to have crossed the southern Iraqi desert into Kuwait on December 18.

Speaking at the White House on December 17, U.S. President Barack Obama said Iraq's future was now in their "own hands."

The withdrawal comes nearly nine years after U.S. soldiers led an invasion Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein's regime and to search for weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam's rule was brought to an end, but the weapons of mass destruction the regime was alleged to possess were never found.

At the height of the war, more than 170,000 U.S. troops were in Iraq at more than 500 bases.

Nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers and more than 100,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict that began in March 2003.

Following the withdrawal, plans call for just a few hundred U.S. troops to remain in Iraq to conduct training and to secure the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

compiled from agency reports

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