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Posted on Thursday 15th December

US military operations in Iraq have been brought to a formal end with the lowering of the American flag in Baghdad. The symbolic ceremony officially retires the flag of US forces in Iraq, according to army tradition.

Security is left in the hands of the Iraqi authorities as most of the remaining 5,500 soldiers have now left Iraq. US President Barack Obama said the US were leaving behind a 'sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq'.

President Obama announced in October that all US troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011, a date previously agreed by former President George W Bush in 2008.

For live coverage see BBC News.

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