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Last Updated: Wednesday February 21 2007 13:26 GMT

Many troops to return from Iraq

UK soldiers on patrol in Basra

Lots of British troops will come home from Iraq in the next couple of months, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

He made a statement in Parliament saying 1,600 troops would be home soon and he hoped another 500 would be able to leave by the end of the summer.

There are about 7,100 British forces serving in Iraq at the moment.

But Mr Blair said British forces would stay in Iraq as long as they were needed to help Iraqi troops and make safe the country's border with Iran.

It is the first time lots of British troops have been pulled out since the Iraq war in 2003.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair said the British troops had been "brave beyond belief".

Another European country - Denmark - is planning to remove all of its ground troops from Iraq by August.

But US President George W Bush has recently announced plans to send 21,500 more US troops to Iraq.

A total of 132 members of the British Armed Forces have died in Iraq since March 2003.

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