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US President Barack Obama has left no doubt that the US is sticking to its promise to pull out of Iraq despite a surge of violence in the country. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government has issues the highest level alert for terror attacks.
In his weekly radio address on Saturday, Obama confirmed that the US combat mission in Iraq would end on Tuesday, reaffirming his campaign promise to end the war in Iraq.
Obama said, "In the months ahead our troops will continue to support and train Iraqi forces, partner with Iraqis in counter-terrorism missions, and protect our civilians and military efforts. But the bottom line is this, the war is ending. Like any sovereign independent nation, Iraq is free to chart its own course. And by the end of next year, all our troops will be home."
Meanwhile on Saturday, Iraq's prime minister Nuri al- Maliki put his nation on its highest level of alert for more violence.
He warned of a new wave of attacks across the country to be carried out by militant groups led by al-Qaida.
Maliki called on the Iraqi security forces to take necessary measures to prevent any security breach.
Maliki's comments came days before the August 31st deadline for the US military to formally announce the end of its combat operations in the country as planned by US President Barack Obama.
After ending the combat mission, about 50 thousand US troops will conduct training and assistance missions in Iraq, help with Iraqis in counterterrorism missions, and also protect US civilian and military efforts there.