President Bush says some U.S. troops could be sent home from Iraq if security conditions across the country continue to improve.
The president spoke during a surprise visit Monday to Anbar province in western Iraq. He did not say how many troops would be going home or how soon, noting those decisions will be made by U.S. military commanders in Iraq -- not U.S. lawmakers.
Mr. Bush, in addressing U.S. Marines and soldiers at al-Asad Air Base, said success if possible if other regions in Iraq follow the example of Anbar in fighting the insurgency. He said Anbar is now one of the safest places in Iraq because of the efforts of U.S. forces.
President Bush made his comments after hearing from top U.S. and Iraqi leaders.
Mr. Bush's stop in Iraq came days before the expected release to Congress of a major report on progress in the country. After visiting Iraq, he traveled to Australia for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
Meanwhile, Iraqi soldiers raised the nation's flag over the Basra Palace Monday after British troops withdrew from the southern city. About 550 British troops left the city to join five thousand other personnel at an airport on the outskirts of town.
Britain's Defense Ministry said it expects to hand over all security responsibilities in Basra province to Iraqi forces in the coming months.
Also Monday, the U.S. military said a roadside bomb killed one U.S. soldier and wounded three others Sunday near Baghdad.