The United States officially ended its mission in Iraq on Thursday, nearly nine years after it led an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Baghdad for the ceremony to personally thank the U.S. troops who have served there, as well as Iraqi security forces.
All U.S. troops must be out of Iraq by the end of the month after Washington and Baghdad failed to agree on terms under which they could remain.
There were about 5,500 American troops in Iraq as of Tuesday, the most recent day American officials in Iraq gave CNN figures.
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