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BASRA: Blair under new pressure to set date for pulling troops out of Iraq

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British forces in Iraq face increased "ferocity of terrorism" as the country heads into the most crucial stage in its political process, the Defence Secretary John Reid said.

His warning came as Tony Blair was under renewed pressure yesterday to set a deadline for withdrawing troops in the wake of British forces' clashes with Iraqi police in Basra.

Mr Reid ruled out any reduction in troop strength and defended the decision to rescue two SAS soldiers, who had been arrested by Iraqi police.

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