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President Obama confirmed plans to have all U.S. troops out of Iraq by Jan. 1, formally ending the war that began more than 8 1/2 years ago and has taken more than 4,400 American lives.

 “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said at the White House, adding that most U.S. troops will be “home for the holidays.”

Obama noted that he pledged to end the Iraq war during his 2008 presidential campaign.

 The president spoke in the White House briefing room after holding a secure video conference with Iraq prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Obama said he and the Iraqi leader are in “full agreement” on the way forward.

The U.S. has had a long-standing agreement to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by the end of this year, but officials from both countries had discussed maintaining a U.S. residual force to train Iraqi forces.

But the U,S, eventually balked at maintaining a residual force because Iraq has refused to grant American troops legal immunity in Iraqi courts