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US officially shuts down war in Iraq

After nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded and more than $800 billion, U.S. officials formally shut down the war in Iraq.

(AP) Baghdad - Panetta stepped off his military plane in Baghdad Thursday as the leader of America's war in Iraq, but will leave as one of many top U.S. and global officials who hope to work with the struggling nation as it tries to find its new place in the Middle East and the broader world.

He and several other U.S. diplomatic, military and defense leaders participated in a highly symbolic ceremony during which the flag of U.S. Forces-Iraq was officially retired, or "cased," according to Army tradition.

The U.S. Forces-Iraq flag was furled — or wrapped — around a flagpole and covered in camouflage. It will be brought back to the United States.

"You will leave with great pride — lasting pride," Panetta told the troops. "Secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to cast tyranny aside and to offer hope for prosperity and peace to this country's future generations."

During several stops in Afghanistan this week, Panetta made it clear that the U.S. can be proud of its accomplishments in Iraq.

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600 Miles To Moscow? Attack? Defend? What Ukraine’s Drone Attacks In Russia Really Mean

A Ukrainian soldier from the 63 brigade was seen flying a drone as part of military training simulating an attack

Anna Akage

As they’ve done for the past year, Ukrainians have spent the past three days studying maps and calculating distances. But there's a difference now: The maps are of Russia.

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The unprecedented drone attacks this week of airfields deep inside Russian territory open a new phase in the war that is both tactical and symbolic. Though still without official confirmation from Kyiv, nobody doubts that the Ukrainian military executed the three strikes between Monday and Tuesday hundreds of kilometers inside Russia, which killed three and injured at least nine, including the strategic military air base of Engels.

Alexander Kovalenko, a Ukrainian military and political observer of the Information Resistance group, writes on his Telegram channel: "International war observers have seen that regardless of what struck the Russian airfields, it bypassed the lauded Russian air defense system and accomplished the task," he said. "They see not only that the supposed No. 2 military in the world not only drags old T-62 tanks and D-1 howitzers into the combat zone in Ukraine, but that it essentially has no air defense."

French weekly magazine L’Express declared: “Ukraine wants to show that Russian territory is not safe.”

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