BUCHAREST, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The last 17 Romanian troops participating in the Iraqi Sunset returned home on Thursday, ending a six-year period of missions there.
The Romanian troops arrived with a Hercules C 130 on the international airport of Craiova, southern Romania, where a military ceremony was held.
Romania has been a participant since July 2003 in the operations of Iraq, both under the Multinational Force (MNF-I) and under the NATO mission of training the Iraqi security forces (NTM-I). Romania's contingent in Iraq numbered, at its peak, approximately 730 personnel, operating in three different zones --South-East, South Central and capital Baghdad.
The Romanians conducted a wide range of missions including prisoner interrogation at Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca in Baghdad, reconnaissance and surveillance missions in the Polish Sector and training, peacekeeping and base protection missions in the British Sector.
Three Romanian soldiers died during the mission and more than 10 were wounded.
The Romanian troops' presence in Iraq became a contentious issue in domestic politics. Since 2006, the then Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu called for many time for their earlier return home, while President Traian Basescu, commander in chief of the armed forces, insisted that they would not be withdrawn.