SPECIAL REPORT: March 20th marks third anniversary of war in Iraq when U.S.-led forces entered the country to remove Saddam Hussein from powerRecord ID: 677727
- Title: SPECIAL REPORT: March 20th marks third anniversary of war in Iraq when U.S.-led forces entered the country to remove Saddam Hussein from power
- Date: 17th March 2006
- Summary: (W1) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (MARCH 26, 2003) (REUTERS) PAN OF STREET TO BURNT MARKET PEOPLE AROUND MARKET BODY BEING CARRIED AWAY
- Reuters ID: LVA73CL6JI317GS9W1T1V1P6092Z
- Duration: 00:00:15
- Topics: International Relations,Defence / Military
- Story Text: On March 20, 2003, U.S. led forces entered Iraq. Three years later, with more than 2,300 U.S. military deaths and more than 200 foreigners kidnapped, troops remain.
Iraq is under the shadow of a feared civil war and politicians report a stalemate over the next government.
U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq, but he said he saw hopeful signs in the response of the Iraqi security forces to sectarian violence.
The White House justified the war by saying Iraq was dangerous because it had weapons of mass destruction, but since the invasion no stockpiles of biological or chemical weapons have been found.
Three weeks after U.S. and British forces invaded from Kuwait, U.S. troops swept into central Baghdad as Saddam Hussein's three-decade rule crumbled into chaos.
On March 20, 2003, U.S. President Bush announced the start of the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein saying selected targets were hit in an attempt to decapitate the leadership.
On March 21, forces swept into southern Iraq. U.S. Marines took the port of Umm Qasr and British troops captured the Faw peninsula and siezed control of key oil installations.
Eight British soldiers from 3 Commando Brigade and four U.S. airmen were killed in a CH-46E transport helicopter crash on the Iraqi border, the first known allied casualties of the war. The U.S.-led forces unleased a devastating blitz on Baghdad.
On March 24, Iraqi television broadcast images of a U.S. Apache helicopter which it claimed was shot down amid heavy fighting in central Iraq.
On April 4, U.S. forces seized control of Baghdad's Saddam International Airport and renamed it Baghdad International. Iraqi television showed footage of what it said was President Saddam Hussein visiting residential areas of Baghdad and Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf claimed that Iraq would "slaughter" U.S. led troops.
On April 7, U.S. forces stormed into Baghdad, seizing two Saddam palace complexes and U.S. aircraft dropped four 2,000 lb (900 kg) bombs on a building in a residential area after U.S. intelligence reports said the Iraqi leader and his sons might have been inside.
On April 8, a U.S. tank fired a single shell at the Palestine hotel in Baghdad packed with foreign journalists, killing one cameraman from Reuters and one from Spain's Tele 5.
On April 9, Saddam Hussein's rule over Iraq crumbled as U.S. forces sweep into the heart of Baghdad, taking control of the capital and toppling a huge statue of Saddam. Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, said "the game was over".
Eight months later, on December 14, 2003 U.S. forces confirmed the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Grubby and bearded, he was dug out by troops from a narrow hiding hole during a raid on a farm near his hometown of Tikrit.
Saddam and seven co-accused are standing trial in an Iraqi court for crimes against humanity in connection with the execution of 148 villagers from Dujail after an assassination attempt on his life there in 1982.
Two defence lawyers have been gunned down, the first chief judge resigned in protest at what he said was government meddling and Saddam's outbursts have fuelled chaos.
Saddam, who still calls himself the President of Iraq, could face death by hanging if he is found guilty.
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