3 Dec 2011

US hands over military base to Iraq

9:16 am on 3 December 2011

The former United States military headquarters in Iraq has been handed over to the Iraqi authorities.

The base, Camp Victory, is in the grounds of a huge palace complex built by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein near Baghdad airport.

At its height, following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the site housed more than 40,000 military personnel. The American military operation was run from the 62-room al-Faw palace, while senior generals lived in the al-Ez palace.

The area effectively became an American town with fast food chains, a bus service and a dirt speedway, the BBC reports.

After his capture Saddam Hussein was housed in a villa on an island within the complex. American troops interrogated and guarded him until he was handed over to the Iraqi authorities and executed in 2006.

Just five bases in Iraq remain to be handed over as the US prepares to withdraw by the end of the month.