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U.S. Hands Massive Air Base Over To Iraq

The U.S. military has handed over to the Iraqi government its second-largest base in Iraq.

Joint Base Balad -- a joint army and air force complex north of Baghdad -- housed some 36,000 American troops and contractors at the peak of the war.

A spokesman said that "with 27,500 landing and takeoffs a month, Balad was second only to London's Heathrow airport in traffic worldwide in 2006."

It was returned to Iraqi control on November 8 with the departure of the last members of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, the last unit to leave the base.

Under a bilateral agreement, all U.S. troops in Iraq are to leave the country by year's end.

compiled from agency reports

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