Iraqi forces have assumed formal control of security in Baghdad and other cities after US combat troops withdrew from urban areas. A countdown clock broadcast on Iraqi TV ticked to zero as the midnight deadline passed for combat troops to pull back. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared a public holiday and proclaimed June 30 as "National Sovereignty Day."
"The withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities after everything they sacrificed for the sake of security," Sadiq Al-Rikabi, a senior adviser to Maliki said. "We are now celebrating the restoration of sovereignty." The move is required under a US-Iraqi security pact.