Iraqi forces have assumed formal control of the capital, Baghdad, and
other cities, six years after US-led coalition forces invaded Iraq.
US troops began withdrawing from the country's major cities and towns as
the midnight deadline passed on Tuesday for troops to hand over security
to Iraqi forces.
"The withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities, after
everything they sacrificed for the sake of security," Sadiq al-Rikabi, a
senior adviser to Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, said.
He told the Associated Press news agency on Tuesday that Iraq is "now
celebrating the restoration of sovereignty". The Pentagon did not comment.
Al-Maliki described the US withdrawal as a "turning point" for the country
and declared Tuesday the country's National Sovereignty Day and a public
'Sense of anxiety'
But Al Jazeera's Hoda-Abdel Hamid, reporting from Mosul, said: "[Despite]
the impression of a withdrawal and a return to sovereignty... there is a
sense of anxiety in the air.
"Security measures are tighter and some streets sealed off.
"People here are extremely nervous ... they're trying to figure out if
more roadside bombs are planted."
But Mahmoud Almusafir, a former Iraqi diplomat, told Al Jazeera: "For me
and all the Iraqis, this is the day the Americans confessed that they
can't go more in Iraq, and they can't control the cities, they can't
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Bushell, R. & Sheldon, P. (eds),
Wellness and Tourism: Mind, Body, Spirit,
Place, New York: Cognizant Communication Books.
Wellness Tourism: Bibliographic and Webliographic Essay
David P. Dillard