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  Friday, August 23, 2019
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Although some foreign troops could be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year
Although some foreign troops could be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year, it would be "complete nonsense" to ask them to leave now, the country's interim president said Tuesday. President Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni Muslim who has been a strong critic of some parts of the U.S. military's performance in Iraq, said foreign troops should only leave when Iraq's security situation is secure. "It's only complete nonsense to ask the troops to leave in this chaos and this vacuum of power," he said, reports the CBC News. According to the Scotsman, despite scattered clashes in rebel areas across the country, Iraq reopened its borders today and commercial flights took off from Baghdad International Airport as authorities eased security restrictions imposed to protect last weekend-s elections. In Baghdad, about 200 election workers began the second v and possibly final v stage of the count. They reviewed tally sheets prepared by workers who counted ballots starting Sunday night at the 5,200 polling centres across the country and began crunching the numbers into 80 computer terminals. The election, which occurred without catastrophic rebel attacks, raised hopes that a new Iraqi government would be able to assume greater responsibility for security, hastening the day when the 170,000 US and other foreign troops can go home. Meanwhile, a militant group claimed in a Web statement that it had taken an American sodier hostage and threatened to kill him within 72 hours unless Iraqi prisoners are freed. The Web posting included a photo of what appeared to be bound man in desert fatigues with an automatic rifle pointed at his head. But the authenticity of the claim and the photo could not be immediately verified. A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Marine Sgt. Salju K. Thomas, said "we are currently looking into" the claim. A statement posted with the picture on a Web site where militant claims are frequently posted suggested the group was holding other soldiers, informs ABC News
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