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Britain jails Iraqi doctor for terror plots, as Brown orders troops out

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An Iraqi doctor was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday for his part in two terror plots in Britain. The twin attacks in June 2007 – an improvised car bomb at Glasgow International Airport and a foiled nightclub bombing in London - were revenge acts for Britain's role in invading Iraq. But British police believe Bilal Abdulla probably acted with a group of conspirators in the United Kingdom and not on the orders of Al Qaeda in Iraq, as had been suggested at the time.

The sentencing of Mr. Abdulla at a court in London came on the same day that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a complete withdrawal of British combat forces in Iraq by next July. On a visit to Iraq, Mr. Brown said military operations would end on May 31 and 4,100 service personnel would leave within two months. Several hundred British soldiers, however, would stay on to train Iraqi troops.

The BBC reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a joint press conference with Brown that Iraq had reached an agreement on extending Britain's military presence into 2009, a highly contentious issue in Iraq. But the two leaders said it wasn't likely to be used beyond the July deadline.

Mr. Brown said people had been given an "economic stake in the future of Iraq" and said: "I am proud of the contribution British forces have made. They are the pride of Britain and the best in the world."
In their joint statement, the leaders said the role played by the UK combat forces was "drawing to a close" but the partnership between Britain and Iraq would "continue to take on new dimensions" and be strengthened.
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