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US Military to Reduce Baghdad Presence - 2004-02-02

A senior U.S. military commander says U.S. troops plan to reduce their presence in Baghdad and give Iraqi forces more responsibility for security.

Brigadier General Martin Dempsey says the U.S.-trained Iraqi police and civil defense force have reached a point where they can handle the threat posed by anti-U.S. insurgents.

He says by May, U.S. forces will have just eight bases in Baghdad, down from 26 at present.

He says six bases will be on the city outskirts, with two others in the so-called "Green Zone," where the U.S.-led authority in Iraq has its headquarters.

A suicide bomber killed at least 25 people at the entrance to the headquarters last month.

Despite that attack, General Dempsey says he thinks a U.S. clampdown on the insurgents has left them less organized than they were a month ago.

Some information for this report provided by AP.