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US Military: Troop Pullback Will Improve Security in Iraq

A U.S. military official says security in Iraq will actually improve after U.S. combat troops have withdrawn from Iraqi cities, which is set to happen by mid-year.

U.S. Brigadier General Frederick Rudesheim emphasized to reporters in Baghdad Sunday that combat operations will continue, but will be launched from non-urban locations in Iraq.

He said repositioning soldiers to peripheral areas will give troops more opportunity to target militants who use rural spots to stage attacks on Iraqi cities.

Late last year, the Bush administration signed an agreement with Iraq that requires the removal of U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities by June 30 of this year, and their withdrawal from the entire country by the end of 2011.

In other news from Iraq, the U.S. military says an Iraqi woman was killed Sunday by crossfire between security forces and a suspected terrorist near Mosul.

The military said coalition forces were arresting two suspects when a third suspect opened fire from inside a house. The Iraqi woman, who also was inside the house, was fatally wounded. A police officer also was wounded.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.