UK Troops Honoured As Combat Operations End In Iraq

The Defence Secretary, John Hutton, has attended a memorial service in Basra to honour the 179 British personnel killed during the six-year conflict in Iraq.

Mr Hutton took part in the ceremony at the memorial wall in front of 20th Armoured Brigade headquarters on the main coalition military base in Basra.

The names of all the British, Italian, Dutch, Danish, American and Romanian troops and civilian contractors who died since 2003 throughout Operation Telic were read out.

The event - which lasted almost an hour - was conducted in front of the monument wall, which is engraved with the names of those lost.
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British forces are ending combat operations in the country, in a move which will see around 3,700 UK troops who remain in Iraq, all coming home in a matter of days.

The end of operations comes when the UK hands over to an American Brigade.

In Downing Street, Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki met Gordon Brown for talks to encourage investment in the country as it emerges from six years of war.

The British Prime Minister said: "Today we are taking steps to strengthen and deepen our relationship and to make it a long-term partnership of equals.

"Today marks the closing chapter of the combat mission in Iraq. The flag of 20 Armoured Brigade will be lowered as British combat patrols in Basra come to an end and our armed forces prepare to draw down."


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