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July 19, 2010

Recent scenes from Iraq

Just over seven years since the start of the Iraq War, the scheduled withdrawal of American forces is now becoming more evident. Last year, Americans pulled out of Iraqi cities and are working toward the formal end of combat operations by September 1st, when the number of soldiers in Iraq is expected to go from 77,500 to 50,000, and the name of the operation will change from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Operation New Dawn". Iraq continues to face multiple challenges including home-grown problems and potential external threats. Political uncertainty and wrangling after elections in March has fostered greater instability throughout the country with fears of renewed sectarian violence breaking out as insurgents step up attacks in an attempt to exploit vulnerabilities. Collected here are some recent photographs from the Iraq conflict. (42 photos total)

SSgt. Spiecer catches his breath during an Iraqi Army-led village clearance mission in the hunt for insurgent activity on June 11, 2010 in Ali Ayun, Diyala Province, Iraq. (Warrick Page/Getty Images)

An Iraqi grocer fixes a lamp with a rechargeable battery in his shop during power outage in Baghdad on June 30, 2010. Private power providers in Baghdad are selling electricity at almost four times the maximum legal price, exploiting shortages and stifling summer heat while crime bosses pilfer dwindling public supplies. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Abbas Ahmed navigates a network of generator wires during a power outage in Baghdad, Iraq on June 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) #

An Iraqi boy watches an Iraqi Emergency Response Brigade (ERB) member search his family home after an arrest warrant was issued for his father who was suspected for planting IEDs, on May 27, 2010 on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi Special Forces and ERB and been training under US Special Forces for several years with a heavy focus on evidence collection and both legal and human rights for detained suspects. Members of the unit make little more than $700 a month and keep their identity a secret as many hail from areas where insurgency is rife. (Warrick Page/Getty Images) #

An Iraqi soldier from 2nd Division gives water to detainees after returning to their base from a morning mission on June 5, 2010 in Mosul, Iraq. (Warrick Page/Getty Images) #

Iraqi firemen rush to the scene of an attack in the northern oil hub of Kirkuk after a suicide attacker in a car set off a bomb outside a government building, wounding nine people including an official responsible for religious properties, according to police on July 4, 2010. (MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man who was wounded in a bomb attack, bleeds as he waits for treatment at a hospital in Baghdad June 20, 2010. Suicide car bombers had attacked the Trade Bank of Iraq, killing at least 26 people, an Interior Ministry source said. The blasts wounded 53 people at one of the public sector's most active financial institutions, which is at the forefront of efforts to encourage foreign investment in Iraq. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A woman kisses the shrouded body of her four-year-old niece, Zainab, who was killed in a Baghdad bombing, as the family prepares for her burial in the Shi'ite city of Najaf, 160 km (100 mi) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 21, 2010. The child was killed along with her entire family - mother, father, and sister - on Sunday, when suicide bombers attacked a a crowded Baghdad commercial district. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani) #

Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims walk across a bridge from the Sunni district of Adhamiyah towards Kadhimiyah, an area named after Imam Musa Kadhim, the seventh of 12 revered imams in Shiite Islam, whom the pilgrims are honoring, on July 8, 2010, a day after a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-filled belt targeted Shiite pilgrims crossing through Adhamiyah and murdered 28 people. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims self-flagellate as they gather at the Imam Musa al-Kadhim Mosque in the Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad on July 7, 2010, to mark the death of the eighth century Imam. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Shi'ite pilgrims pray at the Shrine of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim in Baghdad's Kadhimiya district July 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Saad Shalash) #

Tanker trucks carrying oil snake their way through Haj Omran, Iraq, a mountainous Kurdish resort town on the border with Iran on June 7, 2010. The smuggling of tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil and refined fuels daily from northern Iraq to Iran, in violation of new U.S. sanctions, is stoking tensions between the Iraqi central government and its Kurdish provincial counterparts. (AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed) #

US soldiers carry the body of a fellow soldier killed in a car bomb attack during a memorial ceremony on June 11, 2010 on FOB Cobra, near Jalula, Diyala Province, Iraq. Specialists William C. Yauch (23) of Batesville, Arkansas and Israel P. O'Bryan (24) of Newbern, Tennessee, from Bravo Company, 5th BN, 20th Infantry Reg, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division were killed along with 2 civilians and 1 Iraqi policeman when a suicide bomber drove into their patrol. (Warrick Page/Getty Images) #

A poster depicting "Uncle Sam" is seen at left as U.S. Army soldiers from the 49th Military Police Brigade pack up their gear as the unit prepares to ship their equipment and belongings home Sunday, July 18, 2010 at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq. The soldiers, based in Fairfield, California, are soon to head home after ten months in Iraq as part of the U.S. drawdown of forces, which begins in earnest next month. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo) #

A U.S. Army soldier from the 49th Military Police Brigade counts gas masks as the unit prepares to ship their equipment and belongings home Sunday, July 18, 2010 at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo) #

Iraqis look at items taken from an abandoned US military base for sale at a junk market in Baghdad on July 15, 2010. As US soldiers in Iraq prepare their pull-out over the coming months, the Pentagon is getting rid of the fixtures and fittings of the bases they live in, some of it at auction, some bound for the black market. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Photos of Iraqi soldiers killed in the line of duty adorn the entrance to an Iraqi Army base on June 2, 2010 near Al Guwair, Iraq. (Warrick Page/Getty Images) #

Former Iraqi soldier, turned animal trader, Sabah Alazawi poses with an eagle at his animal farm in central Baghdad's Mashatel street on June 28, 2010 where he displays and sells all sorts of animals, including wolves, lions, monkeys, young crocodiles and even bears. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Carly M745, a security forces dog with the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group, is sedated to have blood drawn July 3, 2010, during a canine blood drive at Joint Base Balad (JBB), Iraq. Military working dogs at JBB have their blood tested and typed to ensure they are ideal donors. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Caycee Cook) #

Students attend class at Mama Ayser, a private school in Baghdad June 28, 2010. Once banned under Saddam Hussein, private schools have flourished in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion as Iraqis become increasingly frustrated with their government's failure to provide basic services. (REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen) #

U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division are seen on board a C-17 aircraft at Baghdad International Airport as they begin their journey to the United States on July 13, 2010. The soldiers, based at Fort Drum, New York, are headed home after nine months in Iraq as part of the U.S. drawdown of forces. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo) #

Athletes from the Iraqi National Rowing Team train on the flowing waters of the Tigris River which runs through the center of Baghdad on July 01, 2010. Not long ago corpses regularly floated down the Tigris, but today the rowers enjoy the waters as they train for the upcoming London 2012 Olympics Games. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) #

A belt of bullets lies across photos of women adorning the armor of a Stryker vehicle on June 11, 2010 north of Jalaulah, Diyala Province, Iraq. (Warrick Page/Getty Images) #

U.S. servicemembers attend a naturalization ceremony at Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad's Camp Victory July 4, 2010. U.S. citizenship was granted to 156 servicemembers from 56 countries, according to the U.S. military. (REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani) #

(1 of 2) U.S. Marine Sgt. James "Eddie" Wright holds his engagement ring before proposing to his girlfriend, Cody Fife during a ceremony Monday, July 12, 2010 in which Wright was presented with a new home in Conroe, Texas through the Helping A Hero program. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson) #

(2 of 2) Marine Sgt. James Wright, 34, embraces his now-fiance Cody Fife (she said yes) after proposing to her during a ceremony Monday, July 12, 2010 in Conroe, Texas. Sgt. Wright was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions after his Bravo Company 1st Recon platoon was ambushed in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. A rocket propelled grenade blew off his forearms and hands and caused his femur on his left leg to be fractured. Since its inception four years ago, Houston-based Helping A Hero has completed 19 homes that are fully adapted to the needs of soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/The Courier, Eric S. Swist) #

U.S. Air Force medical technician Rachel Reidel pauses in "Heroes Hall," on May 8, 2010, a place where injured service members were encouraged to pay tribute to fallen comrades while waiting to be evacuated to Germany, at the Air Force Theater Hospital at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo) #

A US army helicopter flies over an area where several explosions rocked the Iraqi capital Baghdad on June 13, 2010 within minutes of each other, killing at least two people, according to an interior ministry official. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images) #

Salim Walid, 20, grieves for his younger brother Ali Walid, 15, who was killed in a car bomb attack in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, Iraq on Thursday, July 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Bassem Daham) #

An Iraqi man weeps at a hospital in Kirkuk, over the body of his young daughter who was killed in one of two car bomb explosions on June 18, 2010, targeting a provincial councilor and a police officer in which at least six other people were killed and about 80 wounded, including several women or children, according to police. (MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images) #

Sgt. Patchin of Bronco Troop, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry, inspects the site of an IED that detonated near his vehicle on June 11, 2010 north of Jalaulah, Diyala Province, Iraq. Insurgents have been stepping up attacks against Iraqi and US forces as the September-scheduled drawdown grows near. (Warrick Page/Getty Images) #

U.S. Major General Jerry Cannon dedicates a giant key to Iraq's Justice Minister Dara Noor-Eldeen as a symbolic gesture during a ceremony marking the transfer of Camp Cropper, the last U.S. detention center in Iraq, to the Iraqi government in Baghdad July 15, 2010. (REUTERS/Saad Shalash) #

Iraqi soldiers inspect the room where a man allegedly involved in making car bombs was wearing an explosive belt and blew himself up when security forces surrounded his house, in the area of Sabaa al-Bor, north of Baghdad, on June 2, 2010. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Bodies of government-backed Sunni militia members who were killed in a bomb attack are piled in a truck to be transported to a hospital in the town of Mahmudiya, 30 km (20 mi) south of Baghdad on July 18, 2010. A suicide bomber attacked government-backed Sunni militia on Sunday as they lined up to be paid on Baghdad's southwestern outskirts, killing at least 39 and wounding 41, Iraqi security sources said. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A U.S. Soldier from Bravo Company, 5/20 Infantry, 2nd ID provides supporting fire during a squad live fire exercise in Kirkush Military Training Base, Diyala province, Iraq, June 10, 2010. U.S. and Iraqi forces trained to clear mined and wired obstacles, clear bunker complexes and react to contact. (U.S. Army/Petty Officer 2nd Class Ted Green) #

In this photo taken June 9, 2010, Iraqi painter Muayad Muhsin gestures towards a painting while in his studio during an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's artists are using their work to try to process the turmoil since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, and what they are producing shows a profound anger over their country's traumas and uncertainty over its future. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) #

Ali Ahmed, 8, swims with cattle in the Tigris river in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, July 14, 2010. The animals are bathed daily to help keep them free of diseases and to protect them from the heat. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) #

Iraqi Emergency Response Brigade (ERB) and US Special Forces inspect the ID of an Iraqi who fled his home as the soldiers arrived to serve an arrest warrant on his brother, who was suspected of planting IEDs, on May 27, 2010 on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq. (Warrick Page/Getty Images) #

Nathaniel Hahn and his fiancee Sarah Kaster share a moment following a send-off ceremony for the 290-member 147th Aviation Battalion based in Madison, Wisconsin which soon will be deployed in Iraq. Family and friends filled an exhibition hall in Madison, Wisconsin on Friday, June 18, 2010 to honor the unit, which is a UH 60 Black Hawk helicopter regiment. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, Craig Schreiner) #

U.S. Sailors assigned to Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, Company 2-2 survey a crater left behind after detonating seized ordnance at a secure Iraqi demolition range in Diyala province, Iraq, June 17, 2010. The joint demolition operations with Soldiers assigned to the 5th Iraqi Army Bomb Disposal Company disposed of more than 100 pounds of ordnance seized by Iraqi Security Forces. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ted Green/Released) #

Hundreds of armored US military vehicles sit in huge lots at Camp Victory, a giant sprawling military base on the edge of Baghdad airport, on June 24, 2010 as American troops sort through the mass of hardware and supplies that must either be taken home, sent to Afghanistan, or destroyed, two months ahead of a deadline that will serve as a precursor for a complete US military pullout from Iraq. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Sgt. Jerrald Jensen, who was injured in an IED attack in Iraq, recently returned to his active-duty unit after recovering in the Fort Carson, Colorado, Warrior Transition Unit. Jensen has a reconstructed jaw and much of his face is damaged. Photo taken May 9, 2010. (U.S. Army/Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown) #