In a White House briefing held Friday, President Obama announced the remaining American troops in Iraq will be home by the end of the year, closing a war effort there that has killed more than 4,400 US servicepeople and wounded 32,000 more since 2003.

“After nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” the president said.

The US and Iraq had been negotiating over whether several thousand military trainers would stay behind or if all of the remaining 36,000 troops would depart as planned by December 31. When Iraq could not guarantee legal immunity for any US forces that stayed in the country, the president made the decision to bring them all home.

According to a White House official, “This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave, but the Iraqis wanted additional troops to stay. We said here are the conditions, including immunities. But the Iraqis because of a variety of reasons wanted the troops and didn’t want to give immunity. So that’s it. Now our troops go to zero.”

Friday’s announcement fulfills a key promise Obama made during his presidential campaign. He once called the Iraq intervention a “dumb war” and later vowed that, if elected, he would bring troops home during his administration.

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