U.S. Troops Get Permission To Stay In Iraqi Cities

U.S. Army soldiers from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment pray before heading out on patrol in Baqouba, , 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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BAGHDAD – The Iraqi Defense Ministry says some American troops may remain in urban areas beyond a summer deadline to pull back but only with the permission of the Iraqi government.

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari said Sunday that U.S. commanders would have to get the permission of the Iraqi government to keep troops in the cities beyond the June 30 pullout deadline that's required under a security agreement.

Al-Askari's comments come a day after the top U.S. general announced troops might continue working with Iraq's security forces in the cities even after the deadline to pull back troops. But Gen. Ray Odierno stipulated this would be with the concurrence of the Iraqi government.