12K US Troops to Leave Iraq by Fall

US will turn over facilities to Iraqi control starting this month
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2009 11:43 AM CDT
Relatives carry a coffin with a body of a policeman killed in a suicide bombing outside the police academy in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 8, 2009.    (Hadi Mizban)
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(Newser) – A total of 12000 American and 4000 British troops will leave Iraq by September, the US military said today, just hours after a suicide bomber killed 32 people at the entrance of Baghdad's main police academy. The blast—the second major attack to hit Iraqis in 3 days and the deadliest to strike Baghdad in nearly a month—was a bloody reminder of insurgents' ability to stage dramatic attacks as the US begins to draw down its forces.

Maj. Gen. David Perkins said the troop withdrawals will reduce the US presence from 14 brigades to 12 along with some supporting units. The US also plans to turn over 74 facilities and areas under its control to the Iraqis by the end of March. The British troops due to leave are the last British soldiers in Iraq.