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U.S. to cut troops in Iraq by 5,000
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11:32, November 25, 2007

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The levels of U.S. troops in Iraq will fall by 5,000 starting from late in this month, a U.S. military spokesman said on Saturday.

"Current conditions allow for a withdrawal of the first unit, the Grey Wolf Brigade, starting on Nov. 27," U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith told a news conference in Baghdad.

The brigade has been deployed in the volatile province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, where the U.S. and Iraqi troops launched series of military offensives against al-Qaida militants recently.

"The redeployment without replacement reflects overall improved security within Iraq," Smith said.

The brigade's pull out marks the first reversal of troops buildup ordered by President George W. Bush early in the year with the aim of putting rampant violence in Iraq under control.

"If conditions continue to permit, a total of five brigade combat teams will be redeployed over the next eight months," Smith added.

He said that four army brigades and two marine battalions would also leave Iraq by July 2008, reducing the U.S. troops to the pre-surge levels of 130,000 troops.

Source: Xinhua

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