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Iraq's Talabani Says US Agrees to Troop Pullout Compromise


Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says the United States asked for permission to keep troops in Iraq until 2015 but later agreed to a 2011 withdrawal date.

Mr. Talabani said Wednesday the withdrawal date is part of a compromise reached between Iraqi and U.S. officials negotiating a long-term security pact. U.S. officials have said a deal with Iraq is close but there is no final agreement.

In other news, U.S. Marine Corps commander General James Conway says U.S. forces will transfer control of Iraq's Anbar province to Iraqi control within days.

Conway says security in the once volatile region has improved to the extent that Marines there are doing more rebuilding than fighting. He says keeping 25,000 Marines in the province is excessive.

The U.S. military had been due to hand over security responsibility for Anbar to Iraqi forces in June, but the move was delayed.

Anbar will be the 10th province to revert to Iraqi control. It has experienced a sharp drop in violence since local Sunni tribes turned against al-Qaida militants in 2006.

In other developments, the U.S. military says coalition forces killed three terrorists in an operation in the eastern province of Diyala Wednesday. It says U.S.-led troops attacked terrorist leaders near the town of Jalula, where a suicide bomber struck a police recruitment center the day before, killing 25 people.

The U.S. military also says it captured a Shi'ite militant thought to have planned a June 24 bombing in Baghdad's Sadr City district that killed four Americans and six Iraqis. It says coalition troops detained the suspected Iranian-backed insurgent Wednesday at Baghdad's airport.

Separately, the U.S. military says an American soldier was killed by a roadside bombing in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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