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Last Updated: Friday, 4 April, 2003, 23:29 GMT 00:29 UK
Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online charts the latest developments in the Iraq conflict.

[All times GMT and approximate]

Friday, 4 April

2320: US artillery pounds eastern Baghdad, with Iraqi army returning fire, Reuters witness says.

2300: Reuters reports Sergeant Hasan Akbar is charged with murder in connection with grenade attack on 101st Airborne Division in Kuwait that killed two on 23 March.

2245: Fresh explosions rock the centre of Baghdad.

2130: The commander of British forces in the Gulf, Brian Burridge, says that Iraqi forces could use civilians as human shields in an attempt to retake Baghdad's international airport.

2011: Relief group Medecins sans Frontieres suspends operations across the whole of Iraq after the disappearance of two team members, the BBC's Paul Greer reports.

1900: Arab satellite TV al-Jazeera resumes work in Iraq after authorities lift ban imposed on two of its reporters.

1845: Iraq's state news agency says two Iraqi women were responsible for Friday's suicide attack which killed coalition forces.

1830: The Washington Post says that Michael Kelly, an editorial columnist with the newspaper, was killed in an accident involving a vehicle while travelling with US troops in Iraq. Kelly is the first US journalist to die in the war. He is also the first journalist of any nationality to die among the hundreds "embedded" with coalition forces.

1730: Iraqi TV has shown footage of what it said was President Saddam Hussein visiting residential areas in Baghdad on Friday. The Iraqi leader was mobbed by cheering, chanting Iraqis. Some of them kissed him on his cheeks and hands, and he held up a small child. The television station said he had visited buildings bombed by US warplanes. There is no independent verification of this.

1755: US President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are to meet in Northern Ireland on Monday and Tuesday. They are expected to discuss the war in Iraq, as well as the situations in the Middle East and Northern Ireland.

1735: Electricity has been restored to some parts of Baghdad - nearly 24 hours after the city was plunged into darkness when power supplies were cut.

1640: Saddam Hussein has made a television appearance, calling on the Iraqi people to strike against US troops surrounding Baghdad.

1635: A US commander who led a push by marines through southern Iraq has been relieved of his post, US Central Command has confirmed. No reason has been given for this. Colonel Joe Dowdy was commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Regimental Combat Team 1. He was reported to have led his men to within 130km of Baghdad.

1555: Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf has said that US forces at Baghdad's main airport are encircled and isolated. He has said the Iraqi military is preparing to launch what he called "non-conventional" attacks later on Friday against the coalition troops at the airport. He added that Iraq had no plans to use chemical of biological weapons.

1525: The first emergency convoy from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has crossed from Turkey into northern Iraq. A convoy of 23 trucks is the first of many the WFP hope to send in to Iraq from several states bordering the country in the coming weeks.

1515: Correspondents accompanying advancing Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq say massive plumes of smoke are rising from oilfields near the town of Kirkuk. They say it is not clear whether oil wells are ablaze or Iraqi defenders have set fire to oil-filled ditches.

1300: French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin insists that the UN must start to play a key role in Iraq, after the US refused to specify what contribution the body would make.

1254: US officers say they have found thousands of boxes containing vials of white powder and liquid at a "suspicious site" near Latifiya, south of Baghdad.

1217: The US military say Saddam International Airport in Baghdad has been renamed Baghdad International Airport, although the base is not yet believed to be secured.

1134: The US Central Command says a car exploded near a checkpoint set up by US-led forces in Iraq on Thursday night, killing three of their soldiers, a pregnant woman and the car's driver. A US military spokesman says the blast - north-west of Baghdad - appears to have been a suicide attack.

1050: US marines approaching Baghdad along the Tigris River from Kut report that about 2,500 Republican Guards have surrendered overnight. US Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Frank Thorp says there is no outright confirmation of the report.

1030: UK Prime Minister Tony Blair writes a letter to the Iraqi people pledging that post-Saddam Iraq will be run by Iraqis and that UK troops "will not stay a day longer than necessary".

0930: Iraqi TV broadcasts President Saddam Hussein's statement to the nation read by Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, saying the victory "is within our grasp" and the US-led coalition will be "humiliated".

0825: United Nations' aid agencies go back to southern Iraq for the first time since their withdrawal last month.

0817: UK troops say they have killed eight Iraqi militiamen on the edge of the southern city of Basra.

0710: Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri tells the BBC that President Saddam Hussein is alive and well, and was meeting his ministers on Thursday.

0610: Western correspondents accompanying US troops at Baghdad airport say Iraqi troops launch counter-attacks, with heavy gunfire and artillery exchanges taking place in the area.

0500: Sources say the Iraqis remain in full control of the approach road from the Baghdad airport to the city and appear to be piling reinforcements into the area.

0420: US army intelligence officer says 80% of Baghdad airport in Americans hands.

0400: Both houses of the US Congress approve $80bn finance for war on Iraq. However money earmarked for post-war reconstruction will not go to companies in France, Germany, Russia or Syria.

0330: The US military has gained complete control of Baghdad airport, says US battalion commander.

0245: The US military says that 320 Iraqi troops have been killed so far in the battle for the Saddam International Airport.

0235: The BBC's Justin Webb reports from Washington that US-led forces are likely to test support for the coalition in the Iraqi capital by conducting a series of special forces operations and reconnaissance moves.

0140: Officials say a US serviceman was killed by friendly fire in central Iraq, after being mistaken for an Iraqi soldier while he was investigating a destroyed tank.

0045: Opinion poll in Argentina shows more people have a positive image of Saddam Hussein than of George W Bush. Almost 25% had a good opinion of the Iraqi leader, against less than 16% for the American president.

0025: At least 16 loud explosions rock the centre of Baghdad in the early hours of Friday, the Muslim holy day. Many hit presidential palaces belonging to Saddam Hussein.

The movements of those reporting from Baghdad are restricted and their reports are monitored by the Iraqi authorities.

Reporters with the US and British military are restricted in what they can say about precise locations or military plans. Click here for more details.


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