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[casi] News, 19-26/03/03 (10)

News, 19-26/03/03 (10)


*  Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online, 20th March

Thursday 20th March [All times GMT and approximate]

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

0747 Indonesia condemns US attack on Iraq.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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".

0915 Iran closes its airspace.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

1200 Baghdad denies firing missiles into Kuwait.

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

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

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

1530 Eyewitnesses report considerable bombardment of southern Iraq by US

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

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

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

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

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

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

1809 Central Baghdad comes under bombardment.

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

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

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

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.

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.

*  Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online, 21st march

Friday, 21 March [All times GMT and approximate]

0037 US CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashes in Kuwait, killing British and
American troops. The incident is believed to be an accident.

0105 Huge explosions are reported over the southern city of Basra.

0445 Three explosions are heard in or around the northern Iraqi town of
Mosul, AFP news agency reports.

0520 BBC correspondent Adam Mynott, travelling with the US Marines, says
troops are meeting stiff resistance as they enter southern Iraq from Kuwait.
He says there is no sign of Iraqis surrendering.

0530 BBC correspondent Clive Myrie sees scores of Iraqi soldiers
surrendering to 40 Commando, UK Royal Marines, in southern Iraq.

0630 A column of US troops advances at least 150 km (90 miles) inside Iraq,
a report says.

0725: British officials confirm that eight British, four US troops killed in
helicopter crash in Kuwait.

0739: Reports of heavy US special forces activity around Kirkuk in northern

0755: UK forces secure southern Faw peninsula but face "some stern
resistance" at Umm Qasr - UK Defence Secretary.

0820 Up to 30 oil wells deliberately set on fire by Iraqi forces in southern
Iraq - UK Defence Secretary.

0930: Dispute delays opening of Turkish airspace to US warplanes

1000: Southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr 'not yet secured' by US Marines.

1005: Giant B52 bombers take off from UK airbase.

1013: Iraqi military spokesman tells news conference President Saddam
Hussein is safe; denies any soldiers have surrendered to US-led forces.

1030: Kuwaiti Defence Ministry says incoming Iraqi missile shot down over
north of country.

1045: An Iraqi opposition leader says opposition fighters have engaged
troops loyal to president on outskirts of northern city of Kirkuk.

1100: Iraqi port of Umm Qasr expected to come under US-UK control "shortly"
- UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

1115: Iraqi president offers cash rewards to anyone capturing an enemy
soldier or downing an enemy aircraft, the state news agency reports.

1145: Officials in Washington confirm that a US Marine has been killed in
Iraq - the first reported combat death.

1215: Iraq claims to have shot down a US or UK fighter aircraft at 0255GMT
Friday which then crashed inside Kuwait - the Pentagon later denies this .

1440: At least two now known to have been killed, including a young boy, as
anti-war protesters and police clash in Yemeni capital, Sanaa, security
sources say.

1455: US-led forces intercept two Iraqi barges packed with anti-ship mines
as they attempted to leave port in Iraq.

1500: US forces reach key town of Nasariya on Euphrates river, where they
encounter Iraqi resistance.

1530: President George W Bush says the war on Iraq is "making progress".

1530: US defence officials say they have seized two strategically important
airfields in western Iraq.

1610: French President Jacques Chirac says France would not accept a
US-British post-war administration of Iraq.

1630: UK Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce says coalition
troops are advancing on the city of Basra, having captured port of Umm Qasr.

1645: US network CNN says its journalists have been ordered to leave

1705: Anti-aircraft guns open fire in Baghdad.

1705: US begins a 'major escalation' of its aerial campaign in Iraq,
officials tell the BBC.

1745: Air strikes against northern city of Mosul.

1815: Heavy bombardment of Baghdad - "I've lost count of the number of
explosions rocking the city," says BBC's Paul Wood.

1815: US-led forces now 160 kilometres (100 miles) inside Iraq, says General
Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff.

1910: Presidential palace in Baghdad destroyed, with black smoke pouring out
of windows.

1930: After a short lull, a second wave of bombs begin to hit Baghdad.

1930: Turkey gives permission for US forces to use its air space, Defence
Minister Vecdi Gonul says.

2020: Air raid sirens sound in Kuwait for the third time in the day.

2100: Iraqi TV said al-Samoud II missiles and long-range Fatah missiles have
been fired at Kuwait.

2136: Turkey will send troops into northern Iraq to prevent an influx of
refugees, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul says.

2232: Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations attacks Secretary General Kofi
Annan over new proposals for oil-for-food programme.

2339: Fresh air strikes on the outskirts of Baghdad.

2357: The 51st division of the Iraqi army has surrendered en masse to
coalition forces in southern Iraq, US defence officials say.

2358: About 1,500 Turkish troops have crossed the border into northern Iraq,
Turkish military officials say.

*  Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online, 22nd March

0024: Iraq denies torching oil wells, saying troops had set oil-filled
trenches ablaze in an effort to prevent coalition warplanes from finding
their targets.

0219: American B52 bombers return to UK airbase.

0236: Air attacks on Baghdad resume at dawn, with reports of at least three
missile strikes and powerful explosions rocking the city centre.

0320: About 70 missiles are reported to have pounded Iraqi Kurdish areas
controlled by Ansar al-Islam, a hardline Islamist group, accused of having
links to al-Qaeda.

0556: UK military HQ in Qatar says seven crew members missing after two
Royal Navy helicopters involved in collision over international waters in
the Gulf at about 0130.

0640: Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad al-Sahhaf says 207 civilians
wounded in the bombing of Baghdad overnight.

0712: UK military spokesman says seven crew dead after mid-air collision
involving two helicopters.

0800: Iraqi military denies surrender of entire 51st Division.

0825: An Iranian military commander says two more allied rockets fell in
south-west, close to Iraqi border, on Saturday.

0837: US Marines officer says a "major battle" is taking place on the
western outskirts of southern Iraqi city of Basra.

0920: 'Massive' contingent of UK forces including elements of the 'Desert
Rats' has crossed into Iraq, officials say.

1020: Three more explosions reported in the Iraqi capital.

1030: UK chief of defence staff Michael Boyce says an entire Iraqi division
has surrendered in the south; Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says regular
Iraqi units "appear" to have pulled out of the city of Basra.

1105: Iraqi health minister says three people killed and 207 in overnight
raids on Baghdad. Iraq says 207 people have been injured in the raids.

1220: US military spokesman says southern Iraqi town of Nasiriya has fallen.

1230: Fresh explosions rock Baghdad.

1255: The BBC's David Willis says US and UK forces are now confident they
have taken control of Iraq's second city, Basra. He said hundreds of young
Iraqi men applauded allied troops as they entered Basra, and that hundreds
of soldiers have surrendered.

1300: Turkish military deny that its troops crossed into northern Iraq on
Friday night. Kurds in northern Iraq also tell the Reuters news agency that
no Turkish forces have arrived.

1340: Plumes of smoke rise above Baghdad, produced by pools of oil and fuel
set alight around the city as a defensive measure by the Iraqis, the BBC's
Paul Woods reports.

1410: US commander of coalition forces, General Tommy Franks - giving his
first public briefing since war began - promises campaign will be "unlike
any other in history".

1415: An Australian journalist is reported to have been killed and several
other people injured in a suspected car bombing near the village of Khurmal
in Kurdish-held northern Iraq.

1430: Three journalists with UK commercial TV network ITN are reported
missing in southern Iraq after coming under fire on their way to Basra.

1500: President Bush says the US will accept "no outcome except victory",
but he acknowledges the campaign "could be longer and more difficult than
some have predicted."

1520: US troops largely secure the town of Nasiriya, with only a few pockets
of resistance remaining, the BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports.

1620: A series of fresh explosions rock Baghdad and anti-aircraft fire is

1630: The International Committee of the Red Cross says its workers in
Baghdad have seen at least 100 injured people, who were presented by the
Iraqi authorities as war-wounded.

1725: The Pentagon abandons plans for sending its 4th Infantry Division
through Turkey into northern Iraq. The troops will now be sent through the
Suez Canal.

1735: Iraq appeals to the United Nations to condemn US-led invasion. In a
statement to the UN Security Council, Iraq says the invasion is a threat to
world's peace.

1820: Iraqi state television shows President Saddam Hussein chairing
meetings with top government officials and expressing satisfaction at the
performance of the Iraqi army.

1830: A series of fresh explosions rock Baghdad, and some of the lights
around the presidential palace go out, the BBC's Andrew Gilligan in Baghdad

1900: US Marines leave Basra in huge convoy of tanks and head north towards
Baghdad, the BBC's David Willis in Basra reports.

2030: More explosions are heard in Baghdad. The BBC's Andrew Gilligan says
parts of the city remain in darkness.

2100: The US Pentagon says coalition forces have moved beyond the city of
Nasiriyah and have taken over two key crossings of the Euphrates river.

2105: Explosions reported in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

2200: Iraqi TV reports fighting with US troops near the town of Najaf, 160
kilometres south of Baghdad. The TV said the local leader of the ruling
Ba'ath Party was killed in the fighting.

2322: Ten US soldiers are wounded in a grenade attack at a US rear base camp
in northern Kuwait.

2345: US Air Force B52 bombers take off from RAF Fairford air base in the
west of England.

*  Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online, 23rd March

Sunday, 23rd March [All times GMT and approximate]

0000: Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, arriving in Syria, urges Arab
governments to "confront" the US-led war and vows to inflict "multiple harm"
on Iraq's enemies.

0100: Four heavy bombs are dropped by US planes in areas of northern Iraq
controlled by the extremist Islamist group Ansar al Islam, which is
suspected of links to al-Qaeda.

0222 US military says a US soldier has been taken into custody over a
grenade attack on the 101st Airborne Division in northern Kuwait.

0230: Dawn air raids reported on Baghdad.

0520: US military sources report one of 13 soldiers injured in the grenade
attack in Kuwait has died.

0530: Fighting flares up in the southern port town of Umm Qasr, as US troops
try to wipe out pockets of Iraqi resistance.

0610: New explosions rock Baghdad minutes after air raid siren sounded.

0615: A British RAF aircraft is missing after operational mission, coalition
HQ says.

0705: Tanks open fire on Iraqi-held house in Umm Qasr.

0745: US Marines say about 120 Republican Guards are holed up in the
compound they are attacking in Umm Qasr.

0745:UK officials say the missing British RAF aircraft may have been hit by
an American Patriot missile.

0904: Iraq Defence Ministry spokesman says the country's forces have shot
down five planes and two helicopters belonging to US - led invasion forces
in Iraq.

0913: US officials discount Iraq's claim of having shot down American
aircraft. "We have no reports of missing aircraft or pilots," a US official

0914: Two bombs dropped on building containing Iraqi forces in Umm Qasr.

1025: Commander of the British troops in the Gulf, Air Marshal Brian
Burridge, confirmed an RAF Tornado returning from a mission was "engaged" by
a US Patriot missile battery and is missing close to the Kuwaiti border.

1035: Iraqi vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, said 35 captured US troops
would be shown on television within hours. He said Iraq's military operation
was progressing "in an excellent way".

1100: US Central Command in Qatar denied Iraq's claims to have taken
coalition prisoners of war and shot down aircraft.

1105: Small explosion heard near US Central Command headquarters in Doha,

1115: US B-52 long-range bombers preparing to take off from RAF Fairford in
Gloucestershire, England.

1117: Air raid sirens sounding in Baghdad.

1140: Small explosion in Qatar said to have been a fuel tank at a
car-crushing plant.

1225:Search along banks of Tigris River in Baghdad amid reports a parachute
had been seen.

1243: Report of large explosions in west Baghdad.

1245: Coalition military officials have now said Basra was bombed overnight
by their warplanes.

1350: British intelligence reports suggest President Saddam Hussein has
survived the first US air raid on Baghdad on Thursday, UK Foreign Office
minister Mike O'Brien tells the BBC.

1405: US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he believes "some" US troops
are missing in Iraq and could be prisoners of war. Chairman of US joint
chiefs of staff, Richard Myers, says fewer than 10.

1430: US Marines say they have suffered four dead and 50 wounded in more
than eight hours of fighting in and around the southern Iraqi city of

1530: Iraqi television shows what appear to be at least four dead US
soldiers from Nasiriya. It also shows interviews with what is says are five
US soldiers captured in Nasiriya.

1610: Fierce fighting breaks out between the Kurdish forces with support by
the US troops and the Iraqi army near the town of Irbil in northern Iraq.

1610: Loud explosions are heard in Baghdad. The night sky is lit up as Iraqi
anti-aircraft defences opened fire.

1655: US Marines say they have suffered six dead and at least 14 wounded in
and around the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya. Earlier, there were reports
that 50 Marines had been injured.

1700: Missing British TV reporter Terry Lloyd is believed to be dead after
apparently coming under friendly fire in southern Iraq, his employers ITN

1710: Explosions are heard near the town of Mosul, close to the front line
of the Kurdish held enclave in northern Iraq.

1755: Kurdish commander says the battle near the town of Irbil in northern
Iraq was between Iraqi soldiers trying to defect and the loyal army unit.
Earlier reports said the fighting was between the Kurdish forces with
support of US troops and the Iraqi army.

1800: Iraqi Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed tells a news conference
that Baghdad will respect the Geneva Convention and will not harm captured
US soldiers.

1805: US President George W. Bush says "Saddam Hussein is losing control of
his country" and the US-led military campaign "is achieving its objectives".
Mr Bush says the people who mistreat US prisoners of war will be treated as
"war criminals".

1815:Turkish police confirm that a bomb - thought to be from a US fighter
plane - has fallen in Turkey's southeastern province near the Syrian border.
It says there are no casualties.

1830:The United Nations again appeals to all the military forces involved in
the war in Iraq to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.

1840: Iraq says 25 US soldiers were killed in fighting in and around
Nasiriya over the weekend.

1900: UK Prime Minister Tony Blair condemns Iraqi television pictures of the
US POWs as a "flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention."

1905: US Lt-Gen John Abizaid tells a news briefing at the US military
Central Command in Qatar that a US supply convoy has been ambushed by Iraqi
troops near Nasiriya, with several US soldiers injured and 12 reported

1910: More heavy explosions are heard in Baghdad

2120: The British Royal Air Force says two crew of the Tornado aircraft
accidentally shot down by a US Patriot missile on Sunday morning are dead.

2230: Kuwaiti Defence Ministry reports Iraqi missile intercepted by Patriot
missile over northern Kuwait.

2355: American B52 bombers take off from Fairford air base in western

*  Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online, 24th March

0005: Huge explosions reported in central Baghdad.

0120: US military say they are investigating "sites of potential interest"
following reports of US troops reaching a chemical plant south of Baghdad.

0205: A US TV reporter says US helicopters are attacking Iraqi Republican
Guard positions near the city of Karbala south of Baghdad.

0220: Australian defence officials say special forces have destroyed a
missile command bunker deep in Iraqi territory.

0250: UK Ministry of Defence says two British troops are missing in southern
Iraq after their vehicles came under attack.

0415: Philippines President Gloria Arroyo announces expulsion of one Iraqi
diplomat and one member of staff at the embassy.

0545: Explosions are heard amid reports of the bombardment of the northern
Iraqi city of Mosul.

0658: Iraqi television says Saddam Hussein will make an "important and
historic" speech to the nation soon.

0805: Saddam Hussein promises "victory is near" in a speech broadcast on
Iraqi television.

0825: The official Syrian news agency says five Syrian civilians were killed
by an American missile near the Iraqi border.

0910: Iraqi television broadcasts pictures of what it says is a US
helicopter shot down in Karbala, south of Baghdad.

0955: US defence official confirms an Apache helicopter has come down in

1115: UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says the latest Iraqi television
broadcast of Saddam Hussein was not live.

1313: Coalition forces launch fresh offensive in Nasiriya.

1404: The Commander of US forces General Tommy Franks tells a news
conference that coalition progress in attaining its objectives had been
"rapid", at times "dramatic".

1420: US says only one Apache helicopter has been downed, the rest - between
30 and 40 that took part in the action - have returned.

1425: About 3,000 Iraqis have been taken prisoners so far, says General
Tommy Franks.

1510: The United States has "credible evidence that Russian companies have
provided assistance and prohibited hardware to the Iraqi regime," White
House spokesman Ari Fleischer says.

1533: UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says the coalition objective is "to reach
Baghdad as swiftly as possible thus bringing the end of the regime closer".

1558: Buses of volunteers reported heading from Syria to Baghdad to join
Saddam Hussein's forces.

1615: The UK confirms its forces in Iraq have suffered their first combat
loss with the death of a British soldier.

1810: Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says the entire Iraqi
leadership is "in good shape" and President Saddam Hussein is "in full
control of the army and the country".

1830: Fresh explosions reported south-east of Baghdad.

1850: The US confirms that coalition forces destroyed a civilian bus when
targeting a bridge on the Iraqi side of the Syrian border on Sunday -
Damascus says five Syrians were killed.

1900: UK Government orders orders the Jordanian Embassy to expel two Iraqi
diplomats, saying their presence in the country is no longer acceptable.

1950: Arab foreign ministers meeting in Egypt condemn what they call the
aggression against Iraq and call for the "immediate withdrawal" of US and UK
forces from the country.

2110: Iraqi TV shows videotape of two men it says were the crew of a US
Apache helicopter forced down by Iraqi ground fire. The men appear uninjured
and do not say anything.

2120: BBC correspondent Paul Wood in Baghdad reports explosions to the south
of the city.

2135: US B-52 bombers take off from RAF Fairford in western England.

2219: BBC world affairs editor John Simpson in northern Iraq reports
coalition forces have launched air attacks on the cities of Mosul and
Kirkuk. Kirkuk is the centre of the biggest oilfields in Iraq.

2240: Prime Minister Tony Blair is to visit President George W Bush for
talks later in the week, according to US Government officials.

2253: Red Cross appeals to both Iraqis and Allied forces to treat prisoners
of war according to international law.

*  Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online, 25th March

0005: President George W Bush is expected to ask Congress for almost $75bn
(47bn) to pay for the war in Iraq, and will formally propose a
supplementary budget in a speech later on Tuesday.

0031: British support for the war in Iraq increases to 54% of the
population, according to an ICM survey for The Guardian newspaper carried
out in the days since hostilities started. Thirty percent of those polled
were opposed to the war.

0053: Pentagon identifies the two Apache helicopter pilots captured by Iraq
and shown on TV.

0230: American Secretary of State Colin Powell describes the progress of
US-led forces in Iraq as rather remarkable and says the US campaign will be
successfully finished in the not too-distant future.

0335: The BBC's Pentagon correspondent Nick Childs reports that the ground
attack on Baghdad has yet to begin and that troops may be delayed a few days
as bad weather, including sandstorms, closes in.

0342: American TV networks claim intelligence sources tell them that troops
around Baghdad could be authorised to use chemical weapons if other means of
defence appear to be failing, reports the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington.

0455: British Royal Marines move into positions along the Iraqi border with

0505: Reuters correspondent in Baghdad reports distant explosions to the
south of the city, as coalition forces move towards the capital.

0525: A sandstorm blows in over US troops advancing on Baghdad, reducing
visibility and hampering operations.

0550: The first British soldier killed in action in Iraq is named by the
Ministry of Defence as Sergeant Steven Mark Roberts of the 2nd Royal Tank

0620: Substantial numbers of US forces are now passing through Nasiriya, the
BBC's Andrew North reports, although the area is still not totally secure.

0635: British military commanders say status of Basra has changed and the
city is now a military objective in order to get humanitarian aid through.

0730: South Korean parliament postpones until next month a vote on sending
non-combat troops to Iraq.

0740: A British soldier from the 1st Battalion The Black Watch has been
killed in action in an operation near al-Zubayr in southern Iraq, UK
military officials say.

0825: A convoy of US Marines crosses the Euphrates river at Nasiriya to
advance north, after meeting stiff Iraqi resistance.

0845: Iraqi officials say they have delivered food and medicine supplies for
six months across the country, but accuse the US and UK of preventing
supplies paid for under the oil for-food programme from reaching Iraq.

1000: Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan criticises Arab countries
which supply the United States and Britain with oil.

1010: Brigadier Jim Dutton of the British Royal Marines says the southern
port of Umm Qasr is now "safe and open"; hopes the first aid ship will
arrive in 48 hours.

1050: Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Sahaf denies that Russia has
given Iraq military equipment.

1050: The Information Minister says Iraqi forces killed what he called
"scores of invaders" in marshes near Nasiriya but he gives no precise
numbers; such figures have not been confirmed by US or British sources.

1055: US and British attacks have killed 16 Iraqis and wounded 95 over the
past 24 hours, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf says.

1125: Bodies of at least 30 Iraqis seen along the road from key town of

1215: UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says "huge amount" achieved in Iraq but
the campaign will take time and perseverance amid Iraqi resistance. He
pledges that "this time" the West will not let the Iraqi people down.

1235: Iraqi television broadcasts a message, allegedly from Saddam Hussein,
to tribal chiefs urging them to "escalate and enhance" their fighting
against the "aggressors".

1240: US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force General Richard
Myers tells American television that he believes the toughest fighting in
the war with Iraq is still ahead.

1255: Bombing continues during afternoon on southern outskirts of Baghdad,
as blinding sandstorm whips across the city, the BBC's Paul Wood reports.

1319: US General Myers says sandstorms will delay advance to Baghdad.

1320: About 500 Iraqis have been killed in the last two days by US forces in
the south of Iraq, according to Command Sergeant-Major Kenneth Preston, who
oversees the US 3rd Infantry Division.

1339: A light but steady stream of Iraqi defectors continues to arrive in
the Kurdish controlled areas of northern Iraq, reports the BBC's John
Simpson from the region.

1351: The US Fifth Fleet in the Gulf raises its alert level amid fears of
suicide attacks from Iraqis using speedboats.

1352: Kuwait announces that an Iraqi missile has been shot down in its

1414: Major-General Victor Renuart of US Central Command says US forces are
"on track" despite the bad weather. He says 1,400 air sorties against the
Iraqi Republican Guard are scheduled for Tuesday.

1433: General Renuart says "terrorist-like" cells are responsible for the
resistance in Basra.

1508: UK International Development Secretary Clare Short tells BBC World
Service that a further 30m ($47.2m) is being allocated for humanitarian aid
in Iraq.

1513: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal says the kingdom has
proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Iraq, but has not yet had a
response from the US.

1533: US President George W Bush confirms he has asked Congress for $74.7bn
in extra funds to pay for the war.

1558: Military officials say a US F-16 fighter jet shot at a Patriot missile
defence battery near Najaf in central Iraq in a "friendly fire" incident; no
injuries are reported.

1630: The BBC's Andrew North in Nasiriya says he found Iraqi weapons,
uniforms and chemical protection suits in a hospital in Nasiriya. US marines
who took control of the complex said they had also come under fire from
soldiers at the hospital.

1718: UK military officials say there appears to be some kind of uprising in
Basra. A British journalist stationed with troops near the southern city
says there are reports of Iraqi soldiers shooting at civilians protesting
against Saddam Hussein's regime.

1834: US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the military campaign could
grow more dangerous.

1930: Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Sahaf denies any uprising
against the authorities in Basra, in a statement to al-Jazeera television.

1944: Emergency meeting of United Nations Security Council to discuss the
war in Iraq will be held on Wednesday, the council's current president,
Mamady Traore of Guinea, announces.

1946: Iraq's main Shia Muslim opposition group, the Tehran-based Supreme
Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, says it can confirm a popular
rebellion among the Shia population of Basra. Saddam Hussein's regime is
dominated by members of the Sunni Muslim faith.

2020: Renewed bombardment of Baghdad reported by correspondents in the Iraqi

2100: Iraqi state television broadcasts halt for 15 minutes, before
returning on air with weaker signal, indicating back-up systems are being
used, BBC correspondent in Baghdad says.

2100: UK defence officials reveal two UK soldiers killed in friendly fire
incident near Iraqi town of Basra on Monday night. Two more are said to be
seriously injured.

2250: US forces report they have have killed up to 300 Iraqis after coming
under attack near the city of Najaf, south of Baghdad.

*  Iraq latest: At-a-glance
BBC News Online, 26th March

0005: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warns that the US and its allies will
have to provide humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people until security
conditions improve in the country.

0010: US Secretary of State Colin Powell says it is a matter of utmost
concern to the US to get aid flowing through the southern Iraqi port of Umm

0120: Washington will allow non-US companies to bid for contracts to rebuild
post-war Iraq, says head of US Agency for International Development Andrew

0200: A number of large explosions are heard in Baghdad shortly before dawn.

0337: B-52 bomber takes off from RAF Fairford in western England for
possible involvement in the bombing of Iraq.

0342: US Central Command in Qatar says coalition cruise missiles and bombs
struck Iraq's main television station in addition to key telecommunications
targets, damaging the regime's "command and control capability".

0427: Pentagon confirms that Iraqi state television is off the air after the
station was hit by precision-guided bomb and cruise missile. Denies reports
that new, so-called "e-bomb" was used.

0450: Al-Jazeera television channel reports several large explosions rock
the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, shortly after air sirens sounded in the

0600: Iraqi state television is back on air despite the bombing of the
station by US-led forces hours earlier. Iraq's international satellite
channel remains off air.

0646: US Marines run into stiff Iraqi resistance, halting their advance
north from the city of Nasiriya towards Baghdad, says a Reuters
correspondent travelling with the marines unit.

0719: UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon tells the BBC no direct attempt has
been made to take Iraqi television off the air. He says the aim of overnight
attacks had been to target Iraq's command and control facilities in Baghdad.

0800: Baghdad comes under renewed bombardment in fresh air raids.

0805: The Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish army, General Hilmi Ozkok, says
Ankara reserves the right to send more troops into northern Iraq if it feels
its security is threatened - but only after consultations with the US.

0940: Several massive explosions rock Baghdad.

0955: The Iraqi satellite TV resumes its services. Unlike the domestic
terrestrial service which resumed at about 0630, the satellite TV had been
off air since about 0200.

1030: Iraqi officials say at least 14 people were killed and up to 30
injured when a busy shopping area in Baghdad was hit by two missiles. Staff
with Reuters news agency say they have counted at least 15 burnt corpses.
Locals say 45 people have died, the BBC's Paul Wood in Baghdad reports.

1127: A British Air Force spokesman in Kuwait - responding to the reports
from Baghdad - says all loss of civilian life is regretted. The spokesman
says Britain and the US take great care to minimise civilian casualties, and
the incident will be investigated.

1155: Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf denies reports
that the port of Umm Qasr has fallen to the US-led forces. The minister
accuses the allied troops of using cluster bombs.

1300: The first shipments of humanitarian aid reach the southern Iraqi town
of Safwan, after several lorries cross from Kuwait, escorted by US troops.

1310: US military spokesman General Vincent Brooks tells a news briefing at
the US Central Command headquarters in Qatar that coalition against Iraq is
growing. The spokesman says 47 countries now back the US-led forces.

1315: General Vincent Brooks says he does not have any information about
Wednesday's explosions in Baghdad's shopping area, adding that he is not
even certain that they were caused by the US-led forces.

1507: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says he is confident the Security
Council will reach a "satisfactory conclusion" on the humanitarian
oil-for-food programme for Iraq.

1527: Al Jazeera television broadcasts images of two dead soldiers and two
prisoners of war, whom it says are British.

1550: Addressing troops at Macdill Air Force Base, Florida President Bush
says US-led forces are "making good progress" but warns "this war is far
from over".

1630: Explosions hit the southern outskirts of Baghdad in renewed air
strikes, apparently aimed at Iraqi forces believed to be dug in around the

1643: US military announces it is to deploy its high-tech 4th Infantry
Division to the Gulf to join the invasion of Iraq. The first troops are
likely to leave on Thursday, officials say.

1705: A large convoy of about 70-120 Iraqi tanks and armoured personnel
carriers - is seen moving out of the southern city of Basra, heading
south-east; coalition aircraft are said to be preparing to attack them.

1821: Iraqi armoured vehicles leaving Basra are attacked by coalition war
planes and artillery fire.

1838: US Central Command in Qatar admits coalition forces used precision
guided weapons to attack Iraqi missile installations near a residential area
of Baghdad, where Iraqi authorities say 14 civilians were killed. The US
says the missiles were positioned less than 90 metres (300 feet) from homes.

2012: Three huge explosions rock the centre of Baghdad as the Iraqi capital
comes under renewed aerial bombardment.

2025: A column of as many as 1,000 vehicles of the Iraqi Republican Guard is
reportedly moving very close to the American units south of Baghdad.

2031: The UN Security Council opens an emergency session on Iraq with
Secretary General Kofi Annan saying many people around the world were
questioning the legitimacy of the action being taken against Iraq.

2100: Iraqis launch rocket attack against US marines south of Nasiriya,
injuring 20.

2215: British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrives in the US for a meeting with
President Bush to discuss the war in Iraq.

2233: About 1,000 members of the US Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade parachute
into northern Iraq and seize control of an airfield in the first major troop
deployment in the region.

2330: Several large explosions reported in Baghdad in further aerial
bombardment by US-led forces.

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.

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

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