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June 30th, 2009
11:07 AM ET

Iraqis cheer-and fear-U.S. pullout from cities

Iraqi soldiers join in a parade Tuesday in Karbala to mark the withdrawal of U.S. troops from cities and towns.

Iraqi soldiers join in a parade Tuesday in Karbala to mark the withdrawal of U.S. troops from cities and towns.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN)  - Tuesday marked the deadline for American troops to pull out of Iraq's towns and cities - a long-anticipated date that has been met by street festivals in Baghdad.

Celebrations were tempered, however, by fears of renewed violence as insurgents seek to use the date to stage new attacks.

Newscasters on state TV network Al-Iraqiya draped Iraqi flags around their necks as an on-screen clock counted down to midnight Monday (5 p.m. ET). Earlier Monday evening, hundreds of people danced and sang in a central Baghdad park to mark the U.S. pullout.

"I feel the same way as any Iraqi feels - I will feel my freedom and liberation when I don't see an American stopping an Iraqi on the street," said Awatef Jwad of Baghdad.

There were no columns of tanks rolling out of Baghdad or thousands of troops marching out of other cities as the deadline approached. The U.S. military gradually has been pulling its combat forces out of Iraq's population centers for months, and they already were gone by the weekend, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters in Washington.

But Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other Iraqi and U.S. officials had warned of an increase in attacks around the withdrawal date as insurgents attempt to re-ignite the sectarian warfare that ravaged the country in 2006 and 2007.

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Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (One Response)
  1. ray

    Gosh!, what a surprise. The IRAQIS want us out, yesterday.

    June 30, 2009 at 11:58 am |