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Iraqis Celebrate Olympic Soccer Qualification

Iraqis gave their national soccer team a hero's welcome on January 30 after the squad's qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Hundreds of fans flocked to greet the team as it arrived at Baghdad airport a day after it earned its first Olympic spot in more than a decade with a 2-1 extra-time win over Qatar on January 29.

"After 12 years, now the Iraqi football team can come back to take part in the Olympics with pride," head coach Abdul Ghani Shahad was quoted as saying.

Residents of the capital celebrated well into the night, singing and dancing in the streets as fireworks and occasional celebratory gunfire rang out.

Iraq finished fourth the last time it fielded a soccer team in the Olympics, in 2004.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP