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Key dates in Iraq over the past decade

Sunday - 3/17/2013, 12:02am  ET

the Associated Press

Key dates in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion:

2003

--March 20: U.S. forces attack Baghdad with missiles and bombs in a failed attempt to kill Saddam Hussein. U.S. and allied ground troops roll into Baghdad.

--April 9: American troops storm Baghdad and the statue of Saddam is toppled in Firdous Square, the symbolic collapse of his regime.

--May 1: President George W. Bush declares an end to major combat operations.

--July 22: Saddam's sons Oday and Qusay are killed by gunfire in Mosul.

--Aug 7: A car bomb strikes Jordanian embassy, the first such attack of the war. Twelve days later, a truck bomb demolishes the headquarters of the United Nations in Baghdad, killing top U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others.

--Sep. 3: U.S. announces an Iraqi administration largely made up of Iraqi exiles who opposed Saddam.

--Oct. 26: A barrage of rockets slams into the Al-Rasheed Hotel in the Green Zone, killing an American lieutenant colonel and injuring 17 other people. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the war, who was visiting Baghdad, escapes injury.

--Dec. 13: Saddam is captured in an underground hideout near Tikrit.

___

2004

--Feb. 1 :Two suicide bombers attack Kurdish political offices in Irbil, killing 117 people and injuring 133.

--March 2: Multiple explosions rock Baghdad and Karbala at the climax of a Shiite festival, killing nearly 200 people in the deadliest attack so far.

--March 31: Four Blackwater security contractors are ambushed and killed in Fallujah, setting off the first battle for the insurgent-dominated city west of Baghdad.

--April 4: Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr launch attacks across southern Iraq after the U.S. tries to close his newspaper. Fighting rages until the end of August.

--April 18: U.S. announces an investigation into abuses against detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison as gruesome photos emerge showing Iraqi prisoners humiliated.

--May 17: The head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Ezzedine Salim, is killed in suicide attack near the entrance to the Green Zone.

--May 19: U.S. jets mistakenly bomb a wedding party in western Iraq, killing 42 people, including women and children.

--June 28: The U.S. transfers sovereignty to the Iraqis but retains most real power. The civilian head of the occupation authority, L. Paul Bremer, leaves the country.

--July 1: Trial of Saddam, with the ousted leader appearing at his first hearing.

--Sept. 30: A car bomb strikes American troops handing out candy to children, killing up to 35 children.

--Nov. 7: U.S. soldiers and Marines launch the biggest attack of the war to date to seize the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

--Dec. 21: A bomb kills 22 people, including 18 Americans, at Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul.

___

2005

--Jan. 26: A helicopter crashes in western Iraq, killing 31 Americans.

--Jan. 30: Iraqis select a new parliament in the first elections since the fall of Saddam. Shiite and Kurdish parties take an overwhelming majority after Sunnis largely boycott.

--Feb. 28: A vehicle bomb kills 127 people in Hillah.

--March 4: Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena is freed by Italian intelligence but the rescuing agent is killed when U.S. troops fire on their vehicle en route to Baghdad airport.

--Aug. 28: An Iraqi commission submits a draft constitution to parliament.

--Aug. 31: Rumors of a suicide bomber panics Shiite marchers in a religious procession at a Baghdad bridge and nearly 1,000 people reportedly die in the stampede.

--Sept. 14: A series of bombings kills 160 people in Baghdad in a dramatic escalation of the insurgency.

--Oct. 15: Iraqis approve the new constitution in a referendum.

--Oct. 24: The Palestine and Sheraton hotels, favored by Western journalists, are struck by multiple truck bombs.

--Nov. 19: U.S. troops kill 24 people, including 15 noncombatants, in Haditha after an insurgent attack.

--Dec. 15: Iraqis choose a new parliament in the first election under the new constitution.

___

2006

--Feb. 22: Sunni militants bomb the Shiite Golden Dome shrine in Samarra, triggering a wave of sectarian violence that brings Iraq to the brink of civil war.

--June 7: The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is killed in a U.S. airstrike northeast of Baghdad.

--June 17: U.S. troops launch a battle to take control of the western city of Ramadi in a bloody conflict that persists for more than a year.

--July 9: Shiite militias kill 40 Sunnis in the Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad as sectarian war spreads to the capital.

--Nov. 23: Bombs kill more than 200 Shiites in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood.

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