From British daily The Independent:
British commanders have brought forward the final closure of a base in central Basra, in an indication that more forces may be pulled out of south-eastern Iraq before the end of the year.
The Basra Palace complex, which housed the British consulate and United Nations staff as well as military units, was due to be shut down completely in August, but it is understood that the closure will take place within days. Its civilian occupants left several months ago, after the complex came under persistent mortar fire, but the British military retained a presence. Soldiers wounded on patrol were often taken there to be transferred by helicopter to the main British base at Basra airport.
The troops’ final departure from Basra Palace will mean that no British forces are stationed within the city for the first time since 2003. …
But despite the just-completed rotation of British troops having reduced their number to 5,500 from more than 7,000 at the beginning of the year, the loss of three soldiers in a week, bringing the total number of British deaths in Iraq to 153, shows their mission remains dangerous.
Iraq war and oil: here.