Iraqis to mark US street exit with holiday

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Iraq has declared tomorrow a national holiday and is planning festivals to mark the end of the US presence on the streets of its towns and cities, more than six years after Saddam Hussein was ousted.

The much-anticipated milestone has been hailed as a return to sovereignty by Iraqi officials, who have maintained sometimes difficult relations with the US military throughout the years of occupation.

But the celebratory mood has angered some senior US officials and military commanders, who believe intensive training efforts with Iraqi forces have been forsaken, along with combat operations that have cost at least several thousand American lives since the fall of Baghdad.

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