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article image'Iraq Day' marks troop withdrawal from Iraq

By Joe Gullo     Dec 31, 2011 in World
Iraqis are marking the United States' troop withdrawal with a celebration called 'Iraq Day.' Saturday is the deadline when American troops leave Iraq for good.
The celebrations mark an end to an almost nine year war that killed more than 4,400 American military personnel and approximately 115,000 Iraqis, CNN reports.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is calling for Iraqis to unite and according to AFP said, "the country's days of dictatorship and one-party rule were behind it, even as rival politicians have accused him of centralising decision-making power."
Even after decade long war of United States intervention and training of Iraqi police and troops, there is still a level of instability in the country.
According to CNN, "gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by anti-al Qaeda fighters in Diyala province. At least six fighters were shot in the town of Khan Ban Saad, southwest of the provincial capital of Baquba."
Other areas in Iraq are not immune to these attacks. Tensions are high as there are sectarian divisions.
CBS News reports, "The lingering sectarian divisions Iraq faces was clear during the prayer service and rally, which was almost entirely Sunni. Shiites had been invited to join the celebration but did not show up."
But many are celebrating the departure of United States troops abroad and here in the United States.
An October Gallup poll had 75 percent of the voters approve of President Barack Obama's decision to withdrawal all US troops by the end of the year.
In 2008, Iraq and the United States signed a deal requiring soldiers to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
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