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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 March, 2003, 00:05 GMT
Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online charts the latest developments in the Iraq conflict. [All times GMT and approximate]

Thursday 20 March

2200 UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a televised address, confirms British troops are in action. Their mission, he says, is to remove Saddam Hussein and disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

2115 Iraqi TV carries a statement from Saddam Hussein attacking the US and vowing to "stand fast".

2120 US announces it is to freeze all non-diplomatic Iraqi Government funds in the United States and asks other governments to do the same.

2030 Iraqi television says four soldiers have died in the latest fighting. At least 27 surrendered to US-led forces.

2005 Former office of Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz in Baghdad ripped apart.

1859 British forces engage in the conflict for the first time.

1809 Central Baghdad comes under bombardment.

1733 More than 35 nations have joine US-led "coalition of the willing," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says.

1710 Artillery attacks in southern Iraq appear to signal the start of a sustained ground assault.

1628 Reports say a number of oil wells may have been set on fire in southern Iraq.

1615 US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the military action that was coming to Iraq would be of a scope and scale beyond whatever has seen before.

1600 The Turkish parliament approves overflight rights for US planes involved in Iraq war.

1550 The Red Cross confirms that one person died and 14 were injured in overnight attacks on Baghdad.

1530 Eyewitnesses report considerable bombardment of southern Iraq by US forces.

1530 Downing Street confirms that UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will make a televised address to the nation in the evening.

1426 UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls on the United States and Iraq to do whatever possible to protect civilians during military action.

1350 The Pentagon says a US special forces helicopter crash-landed in southern Iraq before the attacks began. Its crew and troops on board were rescued.

1200 Baghdad denies firing missiles into Kuwait.

1144 British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw tells a press briefing in London that the UK and US had been left with "no option" but to use force.

1050 Iraqi Information Minister says at least one civilian was killed in US attack on Baghdad.

0951 US officials say Iraq has fired four missiles into northern Kuwait - a claim later denied by Baghdad. According to American and British officials, Patriot missiles intercepted two Scud-type missiles over Kuwait.

0946 US troops at Camp New Jersey in the Kuwaiti desert go on alert, but are given the all clear a few minutes later.

0932 Air raid sirens sound in Kuwait city, prompting many residents to put on gas masks.

0922 The UK asks Turkey to open its airspace to British warplanes.

0915 Iran closes its airspace.

0903 US defence official in Kuwait says US air raids on Iraq will continue for two or three days as part of a "pre-battle plan".

0847 The first group of refugees - made up of 25 Sudanese - arrives in Jordan from Iraq.

0832 Iraq's information ministry says Iraqi civilians were wounded in the US attack.

0824 The Palestinian Authority "totally" condemns the war launched by the US against Iraq.

0817 Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday appeals to his Saddam Fedayeen paramilitary volunteer force to be prepared to die as "martyrs" against US-led invaders.

0813 Greece, which holds the EU presidency, says it regrets the Iraq crisis has not been solved peacefully in international unity ahead of a EU meeting to be held on Thursday.

0804 A security source says the two Iraqi missiles fired at northern Kuwait did not cause damage.

0759 British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says British forces are on a "very, very high" state of alert and that it would not take long before the attack on Iraq escalated.

0754 Reports of massive explosions heard in Kuwait prompt Kuwaiti and US soldiers to go on alert.

0749 Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov says Moscow "expresses regret" over the start of the war against Iraq.

0747 Indonesia condemns US attack on Iraq.

0745 Kuwaiti defence official says Iraqi artillery opened fire on the Iraq-Kuwait border in the area of Kuwait's Rutqa oilfield and US-led troops fired back.

0728 Reports come through that the Nikkei share index has closed nearly 2% higher and that the Australian stock market saw similar gains.

0718 France says it hopes that war in Iraq will end "as soon as possible".

0707 Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Muhammed denies reports that oil wells near the southern Iraqi city of Basra were on fire.

0704 Pakistan says it "regrets" the US attack on Iraq.

0700 Reports of mortar attacks inside Iraq near the Kuwaiti border.

0651 China accuses the US of "violating the norms of international behaviour" and calls for its military to stand down before a full-scale attack on Iraq begins.

0621 Downing Street announces British Prime Minister Tony Blair will hold a war cabinet to discuss the military strikes on Iraq at 0830.

0601 Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi condemns the US attack but says his country will not intervene on either side.

0600 Baghdad air raid sirens sound all clear for second time today, after a second round of bombing on the outskirts of the city.

0530 Iraqi television carries what is says is an address by President Saddam Hussein, vowing that Iraq will be victorious. It is not clear if the speech is live or pre-recorded.

0445 Australian Prime Minister John Howard says Australian forces have already begun combat operations against Iraq.

0401 The US issues a global alert, warning of potential terrorist attacks to American citizens abroad now the conflict has started.

0350 US defence officials say the air strikes so far have been of limited scope, and were designed to prepare the field for more intense operations.

0345 Iraqi radio carries a three-minute statement saying that "the enemies of God" have "committed the stupidity of aggression against our homeland and people".

0315 US President George W Bush addresses the American nation, saying that coalition forces have begun striking targets of military importance in Iraq.

0308 The main frequency of Iraqi state radio is reported to have been taken over by the US military.

0250 White House spokesman Ari Fleischer announces that war has commenced. "The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime have begun," he says.

0245 Explosions are heard over Baghdad and anti-aircraft fire is seen in the sky.

0129 White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says: "The disarmament of the Iraqi regime will begin at a time of the president's choosing."

0110 Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev condemns US military moves, saying the United States was acting as if the world was its fiefdom.

0100 United States deadline for Saddam Hussein to go into exile or face war expires.

0020 US National Security Council meeting ends in Washington. A senior administration official later says President Bush decided when to launch a strike on Iraq during the meeting.




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