Australia Ends Iraq Combat Operations
Sunday, June 01, 2008
SYDNEY, Australia — Australia, a staunch U.S. ally and one of the first countries to commit troops to the Iraq war five years ago, ended combat operations there Sunday, a Defense Department official said.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was swept into office in November largely on the promise that he would bring home the country's 550 combat troops by the middle of 2008.
Rudd has said the Iraq deployment has made Australia more of a target for terrorism.
The combat troops are expected to return home over the next few weeks. Local media reports said the first of the soldiers had already landed in Australia on Sunday afternoon.