11/20/2004

a Timeline on Events in Fallujah

Newsday.com - World News
Key events leading to the expected assault on Fallujah:

2003:
March 20 -- U.S. forces launch airstrikes on Iraq. Ground war begins next day.

April 7 -- U.S. tanks reach Baghdad. British forces take Basra.

April 29 -- Sixteen Iraqis killed, 75 wounded by U.S. soldiers after the troops come under fire during protest in Fallujah.

May 1 -- President Bush declares major combat over.

Dec. 13 -- Saddam captured.

* __

2004:

Feb. 14 -- An assault by dozens of insurgents on a police station kills 25 people in Fallujah, most of them Iraqi policemen.

March 24 -- After a six-month tour, U.S. 82nd Airborne hands authority for Fallujah to U.S. Marines.

March 31 -- Gunmen in Fallujah attack cars carrying four American contractors, killing them and setting the vehicles set afire. Angry crowds drag the bodies through the streets, dismember and mutilate the corpses.

April 5 -- Marines seal off Fallujah; siege begins.

April -- During the month, U.S. warplanes repeatedly strike targets in the city, killing dozens of people. Repeated talks fail to halt the battles. Cease-fires fail.

May 1 -- Under mounting international criticism, all 700 Marines pull out, turning the city over to the "Fallujah Brigades," a new force made up largely of former Iraqi soldiers. The brigade fails to maintain control; the city falls into the hands of militants and radicals blamed for car bombings and beheadings of foreign hostages.

May 8 -- American Nicholas Berg's beheaded body is found in Baghdad. His decapitation is claimed by followers of Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the first of at least nine foreigners slain by al-Zarqawi loyalists.

June 19 -- U.S. warplanes repeatedly target safehouses in Fallujah used by followers of al-Zarqawi, in first significant attack since the end of the siege.

July 5 -- American forces drop bombs on a purported militant safehouse in Fallujah, killing at least 10 people. Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi says his government provided intelligence for the strike.

July 29-30 -- Fighting between U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah kills some 20 people.

August and September -- U.S. jets repeatedly strike Fallujah. The U.S. military says airstrikes in September killed over 100 suspected fighters.

Oct. 13 -- Allawi threatens military action against Fallujah if residents don't hand over al-Zarqawi.

Oct. 15 -- Fallujah clerics insist al-Zarqawi is not in the city.

Oct. 30 -- A car bomb kills eight Marines outside Fallujah.

Early November -- U.S. military planes launch more attacks on Fallujah. Allawi warns the "window is closing" for a peaceful settlement to avert a U.S. assault.

Nov. 8 -- U.S. forces fight their way into the western outskirts of Fallujah, American and Iraqi troops move into the city's main hospital. Late in the day, thousands of U.S. ground troops move toward the toughest insurgent strongholds in the city.

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