Latest News of Iraq (2003)

For news this year go to's IRAQ pages (Home)

This map adapted from original at Atlas of the Orient made by Tore Kjeilen

(These figures purport to be for Iraqi civilian casualties; they do not include the wounded)

Civilian casualties update

Information below is gleaned from many sources, the main ones being the Guardian and Channel Four. Please remember to use REFRESH key.

April 14 ~ Jack Straw, says Syria is not "next on the list" for coalition troops.

US marines today entered the centre of Tikrit. Al-Jazeera said that the troops had the town under control and broadcast live pictures of marines walking through Tikrit and US tanks taking up position in a central square. Al-Jazeera had earlier reported that local tribal groups had offered to negotiate a "peaceful solution" with US forces and hand over some Ba'ath party leaders in the town.
Iran says it will arrest and try any Iraqi leaders found to have fled into Iranian territory.
In an interview published in the pan-Arab Al Hayat daily newspaper, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Massoud Barzani, urged the US to grant Iraqis control of their country as soon as possible. "No people in the world want to remain occupied. If they stay for a long time and act like occupiers, then they will face resistance," he says.
The Pentagon says the death toll among US troops has reached 117 with 400 wounded. Four American troops remain missing. fierce firing broke out in the city centre near the Palestine Hotel last night. US television showed footage of marines detaining and leading away three men, thought to be snipers.
Yesterday, there were indications that looting is slowing down in Baghdad. Hundreds of Iraqi police officers and civil servants are helping to restore order.

April 13 ~ Watban al-Tikriti, a half brother of Saddam Hussein has been captured in northern Iraq

A US marine was shot and killed at a Baghdad checkpoint by a man carrying a Syrian identification card. Another US Marine was shot dead while guarding a Baghdad hospital against looters Armed radical groups have surrounded the house of Iraq's top Shia Muslim cleric in the central city of Najaf, giving him 48 hours to leave the country.
The central market in the northern city in Mosul has been set on fire during widespread looting.
Colin Powell told the BBC this morning. "We are not in the business of installing the next president of Iraq."
Two British police advisers are starting work in Iraq to help bring law and order back to the streets while Iraqi police have returned to the streets of Basra in an effort to control the outbreak of looting in the city.

April 12 ~ Iraqi citizens stage protests in central Baghdad against the break down of law and order in the city.

US forces took the last of Baghdad's stongholds in the the top security district of Mansur on the city's west bank. Kurdish fighters have begun moving out of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. US troops were greeted by looters as they enter the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq.
An Iraqi colonel in the Republican Guard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he and his troops had made no effort to fight the US-led forces in Iraq.
General Amer Hammoudi al-Saadi, Saddam Hussein's top scientific adviser and one of the 55 Iraqis 'most wanted' by the US, has surrendered to American forces in Baghdad, according to German broadcaster ZDF.
Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad, which held artifacts from thousands of years of history in the Tigris-Euphrates basin, was ransacked by looters on Thursday (April 10), according to museum officials who returned to the building for the first time since the US takeover of the city today.
Combat continues "in a number of areas" of Iraq, said US brigadier general Vincent Brooks. He said that US troops were turning their attention to the town of Kut in southern Iraq, where there were indications of an Iraqi regime presence.
Amid growing resentment among ordinary Iraqis, American troops stood by and watched roaming gangs of looters continue their wholesale destruction of Baghdad as civil violence escalated across the city. Baghdad's National Museum of Antiquities was looted and distinctive clay tablets that are recognised as the root of all mankind's written communication have either been destroyed or stolen

April 11 ~ The Iraqi Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani, says he has ordered peshmerga fighters to pull out of Kirkuk today.

Iraqi troops and officials loyal to Saddam Hussein are abandoning Mosul, leaving it open to US-backed Kurdish forces. Iraq's UN ambassador confirms he is leaving New York for Baghdad to return to his family.

April 10 ~ Armed looting continues in Baghdad and Basra. The UN describes the situation in Baghdad as "anarchy and chaos"

Kofi Annan says that Iraqis have paid a high price for the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.
US marines were shot at by a suspected Republican Guard unit defending a Baghdad mosque. One marine was killed . US-backed Kurdish peshmerga entered the city of Kirkuk, a major oil area. The Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, said the US has promised to remove them. US military spokesman Captain Frank Thorp says elements of the Republican Guard are gathering around the northern cities of Tikrit and Mosul.

April 9 ~ Chaotic scenes of government buildings being looted in Baghdad - no sign of Iraqi police or troops keeping order.

UN headquarters and shops near the Olympic Committee's building have been ransacked. Military installations, government buildings and research institutions, Government computers, furniture and even military jeeps have been taken from sites around the city.
Journalists' "minders" failed to turn up this morning. State television was off the air. US troops moved through the city, hunting down small bands of Iraqi fighters but resistance is said to be fading. Baghdad had its quietest night since the beginning of the war.
US troops secured a military airport, a prison and set fire to a Republican Guard barracks opening a new northern corridor in Baghdad.
Kurdish forces around Kirkuk yesterday, following heavy US and UK air strikes around President Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. There are claims that Saddam Hussein may have fled there if he survived the attack on the restaurant yesterday.
Thousands of civilians are fleeing Baghdad in buses and pick-up trucks, most of them heading north. The World Health Organisation said the capital's hospitals were running out of supplies to treat burns, shrapnel wounds and spinal injuries caused by the fighting. Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks adds that the war is not yet over and parts of the Iraqi regime remain in place. Guardian reporter James Meek, who was with US marines in Baghdad, said that resistance to the US troops had "all but collapsed".
TV pictures show Iraqis in Baghdad welcoming US forces, and chaotic scenes of government buildings being looted without any sign of Iraqi police or troops keeping order.

April 8 ~ Iraqi forces staged a major counterattack in Baghdad shortly after dawn

The overnight claims that the bombing of private houses in the opulent Mansura district had killed Saddam and his sons at dinner have evaporated. US tanks targeted the journalists' hotel the 'Palestine' and killed a Spanish and a Polish journalist (both those nations so called coalition allies). The US say they were being fired on from the hotel lobby, but there are no witnesses who testify to this.
The US have also shelled the office of Al Jazeera TV and killed a member of staff. An Abu Dhabi TV cameraman was also attacked.
Basra - The British army announces that a local leader, identified as "a sheikh" will form a committee to govern Basra, which it says is now under British army control. Armed looting is continuing.

April 7 ~ Chemical Ali found dead. Black smoke in Baghdad and palm tress on fire along the Tigris river

US forces say that their incursions into Baghdad are to make the psychological point that the regime is finished - a "show of force". A press conference by the Iraqi Minister of Information declares that the regime is still in control.
Ba'ath party headquarters in Basra have been destroyed by British troops.
A senior army commander has said that the remains of 200 people found by British troops in a barrack near Basra are those of Iranian soldiers killed in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
In Northern Iraq, an American led force pushing south, has been attacking Mosul. Pictures from the Arabic satellite channel Al Jazeera show huge explosions in the centre of Mosul, probably casued by coalition bombing raids. In Karbala, US troops claim to have discovered a possible chemical weapons dump. Members of the Delta Company report suffering nausea, headaches and red dots on their skin after being exposed to the contents of the containers.
Geoff Hoon, says that Saddam Hussein is nearly overthrown, but warns that US troops in Baghdad are facing tough resistance from Iraqis loyal to the regime. He says reports on the whereabouts of President Saddam and his sons are beginning to come in.
Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, at central command in Qatar, says commanders on the ground will make the decision whether or not to stay in areas of Baghdad captured in the raid. He says Iraq has maintained "some military capability" despite the ground attacks. He adds that the raid into Baghdad stopped Iraq sending in reinforcements.

April 6 ~ Up to 12 US special forces troops and Kurdish civilians reported killed in a friendly fire incident in northern Iraq

in an incident witnessed by BBC world affairs editor John Simpson.
British forces have a "very strong foothold in south west Basra", according to senior military commander on edge of city.
Royal Marines have launched a second offensive in south west suburbs of Basra.
More than 1,000 Kurdish troops are fighting Iraqi soldiers in Ain Sifni. A convoy of Russian diplomats has been shot at as they were leaving Baghdad for Syria

April 5 ~ Hundreds of human remains are reported to have been discovered in a "makeshift morgue" by British soldiers in southern Iraq.

US aircraft and ground troops have attacked the central Iraqi city of Kerbala. US troops claim to have captured the Republican Guard's Medina division in Suwayrah, a town 50km (35 miles) south east of Baghdad. About 20 US Abrams battle tanks on a reconnaissance mission crossed Baghdad's city limits for the first time, going into the southern outskirts seven to eight miles from the centre.

April 4 ~ US troops appear to be "in control" of Saddam International airport, 10 miles from Baghdad.

3rd Infantry Division have occupied part of the airport and had sealed the entrance closest to Baghdad. Iraqi casualties. Dozens of Iraqi troops and civilians died in an apparent barrage of US artillery and rocket fire attacks in the nearby village of Furat. A US soldier has been shot by his own side after being mistaken for an Iraqi. 16 bomb blasts in the centre of Baghdad in the space of three hours last night; 20 explosions in rapid succession in the South and West.
The city remained in near-total darkness hours after the electricity supply was cut in most areas.
An intense bombing raid was also reported near Mosul. Kurdish fighters, backed by small groups of US soldiers, fought Iraqi troops during an advance along a road leading to Mosul.
Residents reported to be fleeing from Baghdad suburbs near Saddam international airport (now renamed by the US "Baghdad International Airport)
British special forces are operating undercover in Basra in serach of Ba'ath party figures.
A civilian car exploded in an apparent suicide attack near a coalition checkpoint in Iraq. Three coalition soldiers, a pregnant woman and the car's driver were killed.
Reports received that US troops claim to have found thousands of boxes of "white powder and nerve agent antidote"
Electricity restored to some areas of Baghdad by early evening. .

April 3 ~ United States forces advanced to within 20 miles of Baghdad last night

.. after "destroying" at least one division of Iraqi Republican Guard troops and crippling another, according to senior military commanders. Up to 15,000 US troops are positioned around Kerbala waiting to cross the Euphrates.
A US Army Black Hawk helicopter has been shot down in southern Iraq, killing seven of the 11 soldiers aboard. An American FA-18 Hornet jet is also reported to have crashed over Kerbala. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Hornet was shot down by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile. The fate of the pilot is unknown.
Units of Iraq's Republican Guard were moving south of Baghdad today in an attempt to cut off the coalition forces' advance on the capital. US planes continued to bomb targets in the centre and outskirts of Baghdad early today, using almost 40 "smart bombs" overnight on just one military storage facility in the Karkh district of Baghdad.
Iraqi civilians and soldiers were killed in the village of Furat, which lies between the airport and the city centre, Reuters reported. Witnesses said a US missile strike was responsible. Iraqi officials said 83 people were killed in the attack. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani - effectively the head of Iraq's Shiite community - has told his people not to take sides and to stay in their homes in and around the Shiite holy shrine of Najaf, according to the al Khoei Foundation.
US troops launched an attack on Baghdad International airport, about ten miles from the city centre, military sources say.
Electricity went out across Baghdad in the evening. The Pentagon says coalition forces have not targeted the power grid. A series of loud explosions rang out in rapid succession in central and south Baghdad, Reuters reports. A leading Iraqi Shiite Muslim urges Iraqis to remain neutral and not fight the invading US and British troops, according to reports from a London-based Shiite charity.
A report on ABC News claimed that US troops had captured Baghdad airport.

April 2 ~ A major offensive began on the approaches to Baghdad this morning, as US forces were given their final orders for the launch of a direct attack.

20 thousand troops have passed the Karbal Gap as they head for the capital.
US special forces have rescued 19-year-old US soldier Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriyah.
Aircraft continued bombing Iraqi positions in the city of Mosul.
Four journalists working for the American daily paper, Newsday, have been released from an Iraqi jail. The three photographers, and British journalist, Matthew McAllester, had been taken from their Baghdad hotel room more than a week ago. They crossed the border from Iraq into Jordan during the night, exhausted, but in good health. A Reuters witness reported one "very big" explosion at about 2300GMT followed by several loud blasts on the outskirts of the city, including in the south where Iraqi forces were preparing for the possibility of an assault by US troops.

April 1 ~ US Marines shot dead an unarmed Iraqi outside Shatra when he drove a truck at the checkpoint.

Iraqi television says, "The rumour that the family of President Saddam Hussein has left Iraq is a repeat of a lie that was previously voiced by the Pentagon. The immediate family of leader Saddam Hussein is part and parcel of the great and larger Iraqi family."
The Iraqi Olympic Committee building, used by the Iraqi leader's eldest son, Uday Saddam Hussein, bombed.
US forces on the way to Baghdad have clashed with the Republican Guard in Hindiyah on the Euphrates river, 50 miles to the south of the capital. It's the first time that American forces have crossed the defensive "red line" supposedly drawn around Baghdad by Saddam Hussein.
Fresh explosions have shaken areas to the south of Baghdad, hours after a series of powerful overnight blasts in the city centre. American bombers - including long range B-1's, B-52's and B-2 "stealth" aircraft, working together for the first time, hit a series of locations including a palace used by Saddam Hussein's younger son, Qusay.
US Forces have consolidated positions in northern Iraq as bombing raids continue in the area. B-52 bombers again bombed Mosul and Kirkuk - the Arab television station Al Jazeera has also shown pictures of what it says are civilian casualties of the raids. Tribal militias in Mosul loyal to the Iraqi regime also say they have captured vehicles.

March 31 ~ Electricity and water go off on the western side of the capital's river.

Reports of explosions near information ministry in Baghdad. Electricity and water go off on the western side of the capital's river. US marines have been scouring Nassiriya in an attempt to stamp out Iraqi resistance.
At least one US marine is reported killed in fighting 70 miles south of Baghdad, in clashes in and around the town of Imam Aiyub. US officers say many Iraqi troops are dead. US marines launched a dawn raid on southern Iraqi town of Shatra, north of Nassiriya. Three US journalists are missing in Iraq according to their families. Bombs are reported to have hit the palace of Saddam's son, Qusay.
Seven Iraqi women and children were killed and two injured when US forces fired on their vehicle at a checkpoint outside the city of Najaf.

March 30 ~ Baghdad bombardment intensifies

Telephone lines in Baghdad were badly disrupted after repeated strikes on telephone exchanges. British troops launched an attack south of the besieged city of Basra. The marines are said to have captured Iraqi troops and taken high-ranking prisoners of war.
The first United Nations aid convoy was due to leave Kuwait today carrying fresh water. American and British troops have been warned of the possibility of more suicide attacks. Three people died and one injured when a US marine helicopter crashed in southern Iraq, according to Pentagon officials.
A British marine was killed and others injured when their patrol was ambushed in southern Iraq according to the UK defence ministry. General Tommy Franks, head of US Central Command, denied any pause in the drive towards Baghdad. "It is simply not the case," said Gen Franks, who also sidestepped questions on how long the war would take. "One never knows how long a war will take," he said. Ground troops mounted operations in and around at least four key cities -- Nasiriyah, Samawah, Najaf and Karbala

March 29 ~ US military claims that US jets have dropped a laser-guided bomb on a building in Basra containing a meeting of 200 pro-Saddam para militaries.

A suicide bomber has killed four US soldiers north of Najaf as well as their driver. Four explosions followed by anti-aircraft fire reported on the outskirts of Baghdad .
Seven Italian journalists detained by Iraqi authorities in Baghdad according to Italian press federation.
Apache helicopters kills 50 elite Republican Guard near Najaf, according to US military sources.Twenty five vehicles belonging to the Medina Division of the Republican Guard were destroyed says US Major Hugh Cate.
Five US soldiers killed by a suicide bomb at a checkpoint north of Najaf. BBC radio reports overnight raids into Basra to destroy two statues of Saddam Hussein.
New wave of bombs fall on Baghdad.
23 British servicemen now dead. The latest casualty is said to be as a result of "friendly fire" again. US A-10 tankbuster fired on two British armoured vehicles. One British soldier killed, one escaped, four others wounded or missing. The A-10s fire depleted uranium shells. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is angry that Syria is sending night vision goggles into Iraq and Iran is sending revolutionaries to fight in Iraq. Fears are growing of the escalation of the war beyond Iraq.

March 28 ~ The Sir Galahad finally docks at Um Qasr, five days late, carrying over 200 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

Baghdad suffers heavy bombing again. There are reports of missile strike on a busy marketplace in Baghdad. Up to 55 people killed and scores more wounded. Many trapped under rubble. Baghdad neighbourhood office of the ruling Ba'ath party attacked. US stealth bomber dropped two huge "bunker-busting" bombs on a communications tower.
A conventional fight between coalition troops and Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard is "not too far away"according to General Sir Michael Jackson. Reuters reported US forces building up about 50 miles south of Baghdad, preparing for what is expected to be a fierce battle with Republican Guards near the Shia holy city of Kerbala.
British officers said that Iraqi militia using machine guns shot at civilians fleeing from Basra, and targeted them with up to nine mortars. The civilians were in the vicinity of British forces, so it was impossible to be sure of the militia's targets from the first reports.
The UN security council today voted unanimously to restart the oil-for-food programme.

March 27 ~ British troops destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks outside the city of Basra.

A military spokesman interviewed on the BBC said they showed no signs of wanting to surrender.
US forces advancing towards Baghdad were held up by 1,500 Iraqi paramilitaries guarding a bridge across the Euphrates river. Dust storms continue.
US-led forces continued bombing Baghdad today. Iraqi health minister Umeed Madhat Mubarak said that 350 civilians have died in air raids since the conflict began, including 14 killed in yesterday's apparent stray missile strike on a crowded market.
In northern Iraq ( Kurdish-controlled territory) about 1,000 paratroopers secured a key airfield.
The US is sending 30,000 reinforcements to support troops struggling against stronger than expected Iraqi resistance. (This just days after military leaders insisted no reinforcements were needed to win the war.)
Scores of Iraqi civilians are reported to be fleeing Basra and heading towards British forces based outside the city. British forces said they had taken Iraqi state television and radio off the air in the second city, cutting all communication with Baghdad.
British find 'categorical' evidence of chemical weapons ie. they found about a hundred chemical weapons protection suits and respirators in an Iraqi command post.
Gordon Brown has increased the war budget to £3bn, as well as allocating an extra £120m for emergency aid work. A few days ago, President Bush asked Congress for an additional £47bn to fund the war effort. The operation to distribute much needed aid in the Iraqi border town of Safwan was described as a "disaster" today after the convoy was hijacked apparently seized soon after leaving Kuwait by "young and healthy" Iraqis. The first military aid shipment, carrying more than 200 tonnes of aid to Iraq, has missed the tide and is delayed by 24 hours. It was forced to wait after more mines were found in the approaches to the port.
The UN has already warned of a humanitarian crisis among Basra's residents, who are being forced to drink water from puddles and rivers after the southern city's main water processing plant was damaged during military action.
The number of British servicemen now confirmed dead is 22, with just four of those killed in military action. Thirty seven US troops were injured when in attempting to flush out Iraqi forces they found themselves firing at each other. The website for the highly respected Al Jazeera has been hacked and the ISP reportedly declines to serve its content any more.

March 26 ~ Turkey agrees that it will not send troops into Northern Iraq without US cooperation.

Another tank hit by "friendly fire" and 2 British soldiers have been killed. At least 15 civilians now dead and many wounded in Baghdad after a shopping area was hit. Channel Four talks today of "..scenes reminiscent of the retreat from Mons. A whiff even of the Somme. Bedraggled surrenders, civilians caught in crossfire, and exhausted soldiers on the move." US military officials deny deliberately targeting market in the Shaab district of Baghdad. State-run tv and Iraq's international TV satellite channel, which coalition forces believed had been knocked out in early morning raids, resume broadcasting.
Two separate convoys of Iraqi tanks continue their journeys south from Baghdad and Basra to confront coalition forces.

March 25 ~ Civilian uprising in the centre of Basra against the guards reported.

British troops are trying to help out but no journalists in the city. UK forces are apparently trying to encourage a popular upraising on the inside of the city, whilst trying to dive a wedge between them and the Ba'arthist party officials and armed militias. It remains a very unstable set up. Water and electricity are seriously depleted and a humanitarian disaster beckons...
Advanced coalition troops prepare to take up initial positions around the city of Baghdad .. ..where they will wait for support lines to be strengthened before launching a final attack on the city. Sand blizzard reduced visibility to mere yards. Thunder storms.
In the South, British forces are still engaged in fierce fighting around the second city of Basra - which now appears to have been reclassified as a military target. British officers admit underestimating resistance.
U.S. Marines crossed the Euphrates canal at Nassiriya opening up a supply route.
17 British servicemen are known to have died since the conflict began and two more are missing. Sandstorms hit Najaf where the Iraqis claim to have inflicted heavy losses on coalition forces. In Kerbala, where two US pilots have already been taken prisoner, US Apache helicopters have had to withdraw. British military says port of Umm Qasr now "safe and open"

March 24 ~ A British soldier has been killed in Iraq;

Tony Blair says US-led troops are just 60 miles south of Baghdad near Karbala and coalition forces will soon face "crucial" clash with Republican Guard.
US demands that Russia stop firms from selling anti-tank missiles, night vision goggles to Iraq. Russia denies the charges.
Red Cross fears Basra's drinking water may run low.

March 24 ~" A search has been launched in the Iraqi desert for two British soldiers who have gone missing after an attack on their vehicles.

(Channel Four "Snowmail" )The incident came as British and American troops continued to meet pockets of heavy resistance on their surge towards Baghdad. Coalition forces have encountered fierce opposition at Nassiriya and Najaf and fighting is continuing at Basra - near where the two British soldiers went missing - and Umm Qasr. The Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, has said that every effort is being made to find the two soldiers. In a briefing at the MoD, Mr Hoon also insisted that the advance on Baghdad was still making good progress.
Civilian casualties:
And close to the Syrian border - at Al-Rutbeh - a missile from an American warplane has hit a bus bringing fleeing Syrians back from Iraq. Five civilians are said to have died.
Northern Iraq:
There are signs of increased military activity in Kurd-controlled Northern Iraq. In the first attack in the area since the start of the war - warplanes from US led forces have pounded Iraqi frontline positions near Chamchamal. And in a dramatic stepping up of their assault against Iraqi forces airstrikes have hit the key strategic northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and the key oil city of Kirkuk. The US Army has just been speaking to reporters in Salahuddin. It's the first time coalition forces have spoken from Northern Iraq." Just before midnight, two more B52s took off from RAF Fairford carrying a massive load of cruise missiles. (The B-2 bomber carries sixteen 2'000 lb. JDAM bombs. When one such bomb drops, everyone within a 120 meter radius is killed; to be really safe from all effects of fragmentation, a person must be 1000 meters away)

March 23/ 24 ~ Casualty figures are mounting as the war continues.

(Channel Four) The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that 14 British soldiers have died in two helicopter accidents. Two British airmen from Norfolk have been killed after a US Patriot missile hit an RAF aircraft near to the Kuwaiti border. Eleven American military personnel have been killed. Six soldiers have died in combat, four in yesterday's helicopter accidents and one US soldier was killed in a non-combat grenade attack at a base in Kuwait. There are no confirmed details on Iraqi military casualties. Iraq claim 80 civilians have been killed and report 753 civilians have been injured in air strikes.

ITN journalist killed:
There is now sufficient evidence to believe that ITV News Correspondent Terry Lloyd was killed in an incident on the Southern Iraq war front yesterday. It is believed his body is in a Basra hospital, which is still under Iraqi control. Two members of his team, Fred Nerac and Hussein Osman, are still missing and currently there is no information on their whereabouts or condition. The ITN team came under fire, apparently from Coalition forces, outside Basra. Iraqi ambulances took a number of dead and injured from the area into Basra and it is believed that Terry Lloyd's body was among the dead.

March 23 ~ U.S. may have downed RAF plane

The fiercest day of fighting so far. LONDON (Reuters) (external) - Britain says it appears a Royal Air Force plane that went missing in the Gulf had been shot down by a U.S. Patriot missile.
Also: " airmen died when two British navy helicopters collided in mid-air on Saturday and three members of a British ITN television crew disappeared after their car came under fire -- possibly from British artillery. Reuters March 21 ~ Saddam Hussein's presidential complex in central Baghdad on fire after it was hit in fiercest attack yet on Iraqi capital. US armoured columns advance towards Baghdad. Air strikes hit northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. US official says major air war against Iraq has been launched. Bombs and missiles begin to strike Baghdad for third successive night. Geoff Hoon, says coalition troops expect to take control quickly of the key southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, despite encountering stiff resistance as they advance.
Huge explosions light the night sky near the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Twelve troops are killed when their American helicopter crashes in the Kuwaiti desert. Eight Britons and four Americans were on board the aircraft, which British forces say came down by accident and not as a result of enemy action.
Fifteen oil wells reported on fire in southern Iraq, according to the Kuwaiti national guard.

March 22 ~ Missing British TV reporter Terry Lloyd and two of his ITN news crew hit by "friendly fire"

from coalition forces near Basra, according to cameraman Daniel Demoustier, who was injured in the incident but escaped. Fresh explosions rock Baghdad. Turkey denies sending troops into northern Iraq. Iraqi health minister Umeed Midhat Mubarak says Saddam Hussein is "completely OK" .
Two Sea King helicopters from the Ark Royal collide over international waters in the Gulf.

March 21~Baghdad hit by another series of air strikes.

Turkey opened its airspace to US aircraft, Saddam Hussein's presidential complex in central Baghdad on fire after it was hit in fiercest attack yet on Iraqi capital. US armoured columns advance towards Baghdad.
Kofi Annan accused by Iraqi UN Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri accuses of helping the United States attack his country by withdrawing peacekeepers from Kuwait
Air strikes hit northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul.
Geoff Hoon, says coalition troops expect to take control quickly of the key southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, despite encountering stiff resistance as they advance.

March 20 ~ Heavy bombardment of central Baghdad begins

Explosions are reported to be close to the Royal Palaces, the ministry of defence and Al Rashid airport in the west of the city. Reports that the former office of deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has been destroyed. Confirmation that one of Saddam Hussein's palaces has been destroyed, but there are said to be no casualties. Royal Marines invade the Al Faw peninsula, taking control of the Red Beach area.