The US Army made a significant step in ending its role in Iraq Monday night, when US forces formally handed over control of Baghdad and other cities to Iraqi forces.
A countdown clock broadcast on Iraqi TV ticked to zero as the midnight deadline passed for US combat troops to finish their pullback to bases outside cities.
"The withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities after everything they sacrificed for the sake of security," said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "We are now celebrating the restoration of sovereignty."
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