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Iraq

Last Updated: Monday July 09 2007 16:27 GMT

Why is Iraq in the news so much?

Local women walk past a British soldier with an automatic rifle in Basra, Iraq

Iraq has been in the headlines for a number of years, but the country has been in the news more often since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

At the time there were fears that the leader of Iraq, President Saddam Hussein, would use very dangerous weapons - called weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) - to attack other countries.

Control of the country was taken from Saddam Hussein very quickly, and he was captured.

Map of Iraq
Map of Iraq

Saddam Hussein was put on trial for the murder of 148 people in 1988 in Iraq and was found guilty in 2006 and was sentenced to be killed.

He was killed by hanging on 30 December 2006 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

But Iraq is still a violent country and there are thousands of soldiers from other countries, including Britain, there trying to keep the peace.

All the Iraqi soldiers and police officers are being retrained.

The British government hopes that when the Iraqi soldiers are able to take over responsibility for making the country safe, the British soldiers will be able to return home.

But some people in Iraq want all foreigners, particularly the soldiers, to leave straight away, and think that by attacking them they will force them out.

Iraqis voted for a new government in December 2005.

Coalition soldier

It's thought some of the bigger attacks may even be the work of the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

Some people think the government led by Saddam Hussein should still be in charge.

There are also many problems because Iraqis are fighting each other.

Some Iraqis don't like each other because of religion.

Although most Iraqis are Muslim, they belong to different branches of the faith ¿ Shia and Sunni.

Most days there are attacks on the foreign soldiers or unrest between Iraqi groups with different beliefs.