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US-led Forces Withdraw from Third Iraqi Base
American soldiers stand guard at the K1 air base in northern Iraq on Sunday just prior to a withdrawal from the facility by US-led troops. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images)

US-led Forces Withdraw from Third Iraqi Base

The US-led coalition in Iraq has pulled out of the K1 airbase in the North, marking the third such withdrawal this month. A December rocket attack on the facility carried out by an Iraqi militia aligned with Iran killed an American contractor, leading to a period of escalated violence that included a US drone strike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general along with the leader of the militia. Some 300 hundred troops were involved in Sunday’s pullback, with reports that over $1 million in equipment at the base had been handed over to the Iraqi military. Like the soldiers at two bases evacuated earlier in March, one in Nineveh Province and the other close to the border with Syria, the personnel who left K1 will be consolidated at one of two remaining bases being used by the US-led coalition, one in Baghdad and the other in the desert west of the Iraqi capital. The coalition numbers about 7,500 troops, two-thirds of them American, and was initially assembled to fight against Islamic State.

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