The Iraqi Army has conducted a two day military training exercise in Baghdad to demonstrate its readiness to defend its airspace following the gradual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

The army deployed more than 521 Iraqi soldiers from the artillery unit, 90 107mm-calibre artillery weapons and 12 122mm-calibre missile launchers for the drill.

Press TV reported the Iraqi deputy chief of staff as saying that the army was prepared to take over security responsibilities and defend the country against any external threats and aggression.

The US troops are scheduled to depart by the year-end following Iraq’s refusal to grant legal immunity to the remaining US soldiers.

However, around 157 US military personnel along with 763 civilian contractors will remain in Iraq to train security forces on US tanks, combat jets and other military equipment.

The Iraqi defence ministry has also signed contracts with the US and other European nations to supply advanced military equipment to the security forces.