Britain Ends Iraq Mission

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2009 6:43 AM CDT
British Maj. Gen. Andy Salmon, center, former head of coalition operations in South Eastern Iraq, speaks during a hand over ceremony in Basra, Iraq, March 31, 2009.   (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Britain officially ended its combat operations in Iraq today, lowering the flags of its armored brigade and turning over control of its Basra base to US troops, the Guardian reports. “The role of British ground forces is finished,” a defense official confirmed. “Today, Iraq is a success story,” added Gordon Brown, after a meeting with Nouri al-Maliki in London. “Britain can be proud of our legacy that we leave there.”

A ceremony was also held in Basra today to commemorate the 179 British personnel killed during the 6-year war. Brown said the UK owed them a “huge debt of gratitude.”