Britain to postpone Iraq troop reduction

Britain has postponed a plan to withdraw around 1,500 troops from Iraq, British Defense Secretary Des Browne said Tuesday. Browne said military commanders were putting on hold a plan to reduce British troop numbers from 4,000 to 2,500, as outlined by Prime Minister Gordon Brown late last year. A surge in violence that has swept Basra and other Shi'ite areas has led British military chiefs to reconsider the pullout. Browne said it would be "prudent" to pause any further reductions while the situation was unfolding.