Updated at 8:52 p.m. EDT, Aug. 18, 2010
The last brigade of U.S. combat troops crossed the border into Kuwait at 3:51 a.m. local time, two weeks ahead of the official drawdown deadline set by Washington. Although approximately 50,000 personnel will remain in Iraq and combat conditions will continue for many of those left behind, the withdrawal of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is a symbolic end to combat operations.
Separately, the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday where he met with leaders to formally accept his new post. Baghdad was also the scene of numerous if small attacks against government officials, but the most gruesome attack occurred in Diyala where gunmen left the following message on their victims: "This is the future for all those who cooperate with the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces." Overall, at least 25 Iraqis were killed and 33 more were wounded.
Three brothers were killed at their home in Rabeaa. Afterwards, the gunmen booby-trapped the path leading to the home or homes and pinned messages to their bodies. Later, U.S. forces accidentally killed a civilian during a related raid.
In Baghdad, a bomb wounded 10 people in Kasrah. Four people were wounded in a blast targeting the undersecretary of trade in Beirut Square. A bombing in Zayouna wounded four people, including an Oil Ministry official. Gunmen in Harithiya killed an employee of the Communication Ministry. A Housing Ministry employee was killed as well in Mansour. In Amiriya, gunmen killed a Commerce Ministry employee. Mortars wounded two in Karrada. Gunmen killed two judges in separate locations.
A bomb targeting security personnel in Ramadi killed two of them and wounded three more.
A bomb at the Tikrit central court left two dead and three wounded.
A civilian was killed and a policeman was wounded in a blast in Abu Ghraib.
A raid in Nidaa left one gunman dead and another wounded. A third man was arrested.
One Sahwa fighter was killed and two more were wounded in a small arms attack in Madaen.
In Baquba, a Sahwa leader was killed and his brother was wounded when a bomb attached to their car exploded.
A body was discovered in Bartela.
Two policemen were killed in Kirkuk.
Two roadside bombs targeting a U.S. patrol in Taji left no casualties.
Security forces liberated a captive and arrested 31 suspects, including the alleged abductors, throughout Diyala province.
A gunman was caught planting a bomb in Hawija.