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US troops withdraw from Iraqi base targeted by missiles

US-led forces say withdrawal is part of agreed plan to draw down forces in the area
A US soldier withdraws from the Taji military base near Baghdad (Reuters)

United States-led troops have withdrawn from a base near Iraq's capital Baghdad that has been repeatedly targeted by Iran-backed militias this year, the coalition said. 

The Taji military base has frequently been hit by rockets since the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, then the leader of Iran's elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at the turn of the year. 

"The movement of coalition military personnel is part of a long-range plan coordinated with the government of Iraq," the coalition said in a statement, adding that Camp Taji has historically held up to 2,000 coalition members, most of whom have departed this summer.

An explosion hit a convoy supplying US troops near the Taji base on 11 August and two rockets fell inside the base four days later. 

Remaining coalition troops will depart in the coming days after finalising the handing over of equipment to Iraqi security forces, the coalition added.

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This was the eighth transfer of a coalition portion of an Iraqi base back to Iraqi forces, it said.

The withdrawal came days after US President Donald Trump redoubled his promise to withdraw the few US troops still in the country. The United States has had about 5,000 troops stationed in the country and coalition allies a further 2,500.

After the US strike on Soleimani, Iraq's parliament voted for the departure of foreign troops from Iraq.

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