Updated at 6:18 p.m. EDT, June 30, 2009
Today is the deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraqi cities. Across Iraq, at least 36 Iraqis were killed and 97 more were wounded. Four U.S. soldiers were killed in a combat incident shortly before pullout yesterday in Baghdad.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked Iraqis to unite and be vigilant during the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraqi cities. Although most troops will leave the major cities, there are some exceptions. The withdrawal does not mean that the U.S. military will leave Iraq altogether either. U.S. involvement in Iraq is expected to continue for many years. Meanwhile, Gen. Ray Odierno suggested that Iran could still be funding militant operations within Iraq.
In Mosul, soldiers at a checkpoint killed a gunman.
Gunmen killed two people traveling in a civilian vehicle in Shurqat; one of the victims was an Iraqi serviceman.
A gunman stole a truck carrying food in Baiji.
A car bomb was defused near Amara in Hasnawi.
The Iraqi air force planned to fly airplanes over Basra as part of U.S. withdrawal celebrations; however, Basra is one of the few cities that will still have U.S. troops patrolling it after today. They will be there to protect the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team. Although few casualty reports come out of Basra, the city remains at the mercy of rival Shi’ite groups.
A historic oil-licensing round is underway, but the oil companies are not showing as much interest as the Iraqis had hoped.
A dispute between Iraq and Germany over an ancient vase heated up when German custom officials sent the vase for valuation.