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After delays, former Iraqi translator living in Orlando will become US citizen

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(Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – More than a year after a former interpreter for U.S. military forces in Iraq was pulled out of a U.S. citizenship ceremony without explanation, he's about to be naturalized.

Haeder Al Anbki said Monday he was notified over the weekend that he could participate in a naturalization ceremony next week in Orlando.

Al Anbki had sued a federal agency over the matter. He was given no explanation for the government's reversal in his case, but he credited stories by The Associated Press and The Tampa Bay Times with publicizing his plight.

Al Anbki, who lives in Orlando, Florida, came to the United States in 2011 after working with U.S. troops in Iraq for nine years as an interpreter, a job that allowed him to get a special immigration visa. During his service with the troops, he was stabbed by an insurgent and shot in the leg. He lost a toe on his left foot from shrapnel. His brother, also a translator for U.S. troops, was killed.

Al Anbki says a government agency should have completed his citizenship application but instead applied different rules under a program that opponents say targets applicants from majority-Muslim countries.

An agency spokeswoman said she couldn't discuss specific cases.