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CBC News Online | Updated December 24, 2004

The Pentagon announces it will increase the American military presence in Iraq to 150,000 troops by ordering more soldiers to the country and extending the tours of duty of troops already there.

Thirty people, 16 of them police officers, are killed in two attacks on Baghdad police stations.

Two car bombs explode near a police station outside of Baghdad's Green Zone, killing seven police officers and wounding about 60 others. The Green Zone is the area housing the U.S. and British embassies and the offices of the Iraqi government.

Seven gunmen in two cars fire on a bus full of Iraqis working for the U.S. military, killing 21 and wounding 13 in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.

Prime Minister Paul Martin again rules out sending Canadian troops into Iraq.

The U.S. reports on Dec. 7 that the 1,000th American soldier was killed in combat in Iraq since the start of the invasion. At this point, 1,275 U.S. service personnel have died in Iraq.

Eight U.S. soldiers file a lawsuit to get released from the American military, saying they have been kept in longer than their terms of enlistment specified.

At a question and answer period with U.S. troops, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld answers a question on why many army vehicles lack armour protection, forcing soldiers to use scrap metal for protection. "You go to war with the army you have," Rumsfeld says, "not the army you might want or wish to have."

Japan extends the country's deployment of 550 non-combat troops in Iraq by one more year.

NATO officials expand the alliance's training mission in Iraq, but a number of member countries, including Canada, stand by their pledge to keep soldiers out of Iraq.

American soldier Staff Sgt. Johnny Horne pleads guilty to killing an injured Iraqi teenager in Sadr City in August. Witnesses describe the incident as a mercy killing, as the teen had suffered severe injuries when the soldiers found him and decided "to put him out of his misery."

A memorial is held in London's Westminster Cathedral for aid worker Margaret Hassan, believed killed by Iraqi insurgents. Her body has never been found.

The U.S. military denies a report that Saddam Hussein and 11 former members of his regime are on a hunger strike. Saddam's lawyers ask the International Red Cross to investigate.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq claims responsibility for a suicide car bombing at a checkpoint near Baghdad's Green Zone. The attack kills 13 people on the first anniversary of the capture of Saddam Hussein.

A suicide car bomb at a checkpoint leading into Baghdad's Green Zone kills seven Iraqis.

For the first time since his arrest a year ago, Saddam Hussein is allowed to meet with a lawyer.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali" for his role in chemical attacks on Iraqi Kurds in 1988, appears at a pre-trial hearing. Iraqi officials say he will be the first former member of the Saddam regime to go on trial for war crimes, possibly in mid-January 2005.

A mortar attack on an election office in Baghdad kills two and wounds eight, including six Iraqi National Guards.

A suicide bomber blows up his vehicle at the entrance of a bus station in Karbala, killing at least 14 people and wounding about 40 others. A car bomb in Najaf detonates in Maidan Square, near the Imam Ali Shrine, during a funeral procession, killing 54 people and wounding 142. The attacks are blamed on Sunni Muslim extremists hoping to derail the national elections in January 2005.

In Baghdad, 30 armed insurgents stop a car carrying five Iraqi electoral officials. The gunmen drag three of the men from the car and shoot them at point-black range.

Iraqi authorities arrest 50 people in Najaf in connection to the Maidan Square bombing.

New allegations of Iraqi prisoner abuse at the hands of U.S. soldiers are made public. Internal FBI memos, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, include details of detainees in Iraq being chained for long periods and left in cold prison cells. There are also accounts of torture at the Guantanamo Bay prisoner camp in Cuba.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair makes a surprise visit to Baghdad for talks with Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

An explosion in a mess tent in Mosel kills 22 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers, and wounds 69 others. U.S. military officials initially say the cause of the exposition was a rocket, and later say it was likely a suicide bomber wearing an Iraqi army uniform. It is the single deadliest attack against U.S. troops since the beginning of the invasion.

Two French reporters, kidnapped in August 2004, are released and return to Paris. "We told them we were not American," says Georges Malbrunot. "We immediately played the French journalist card."

Fighting begins again in Fallujah, as U.S. warplanes drop bombs on the outskirts of the city. The renewed fighting comes on the day authorities were expected to allow Fallujah residents who fled the city to return.

U.S. deaths: 137
Iraqi civilian deaths: 265-300

Voter registration in Iraq begins.

The deputy governor of Baghdad is killed while driving to work.

The Pentagon orders 6,500 troops in Iraq to extend their tours of duty for two months, until the expected end of the Iraqi elections in January 2005.

A car bomb explodes near the Iraqi Ministry of Education in Baghdad, killing at least five people.

George W. Bush wins re-election in the U.S. presidential vote.

The kidnappers of aid worker Margaret Hassan say they will hand her over to a group linked to al-Qaeda if Britain does not pull its troops from Iraq within 48 hours.

Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, closes its three clinics in Baghdad, saying the recent kidnapping of aid worker Margaret Hassan shows that it's "impossible for MSF as an organization to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff."

A suicide car bomber kills three British soldiers and an Iraqi civilian at a checkpoint south of Baghdad. The attack comes shortly after Black Watch troops, originally deployed in the south, took over for American troops in the central part of Iraq. In all, 73 British troops have been killed in Iraq.

Hungary announces it will withdraw 300 non-combat troops from Iraq by March 21, 2005.

American forces launch air strikes and artillery shells on rebel-held parts of Fallujah, as about 10,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops surround the city, cutting off all roads in and out. An estimated 80 per cent of the population of Fallujah has fled the city by this point. U.S. troops seize a hospital and two bridges over the Euphrates River in western Fallujah.

Iraq imposes emergency law across the country, except for the Kurd-controlled north. Vehicular traffic is banned. Men between the ages of 15 and 55 are forbidden from going outside.

On the first day of an all-out assault on Fallujah, U.S. marines and soldiers push into the city's northwest Jolan district and northeast Askari district.

U.S. and Iraqi troops push into the centre of Fallujah on the second day of the assault.

The U.S. military claims to control 70 per cent of Fallujah after the third day of the assault on the city. It says hundreds of insurgents have died in the attack.

Police forces in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul are overwhelmed by insurgent attacks, prompting the Iraqi government to send troops to quell the uprising. Insurgents targeted police stations and key bridges in the city.

Five days into the assault on Fallujah, the U.S. claims it controls 80 per cent of the city. A marine commander says troops have insurgents cornered in the southwest section of Fallujah.

After six days of fighting, the U.S. military declares Fallujah occupied. Iraqi officials admit to two failures in the assault: insurgent leaders Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Sheik Abdullah al-Janabi were not captured.

U.S. warplanes are used to strike at pockets of resistance in Fallujah.

Margaret Hassan, director of CARE International in Iraq, is killed nearly a month after being kidnapped in Baghdad. Al-Jazeera says it received a tape showing Hassan being shot. Her husband, Tahseen Hassan, pleads for her body to be returned to him.

U.S. and Iraqi forces launch an assault on Mosul to retake key positions from rebels.

The U.S. military begins an investigation into the alleged shooting of a wounded Iraqi by a U.S. marine in a mosque in Fallujah, apparently captured on tape by an American reporter.

The assault on Fallujah kills 51 U.S. troops, eight Iraqi government soldiers, and about 1,200 Iraqi insurgents. More than 425 U.S. soldiers were wounded in the attacks.

A suicide bomber drives his car into an American convoy, killing at least 10 Iraqis in Beiji, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad.

The International Committee of the Red Cross appeals for civilians still in Fallujah. The Iraqi government says it will send food and medical teams to the city.

Iraqi and U.S. forces storm a Sunni Muslim mosque in Baghdad, killing at least three people. The attack comes a day after the government warned that religious leaders who incited violence would be considered supporters of terrorism.

Teresa Borcz Khalifa, a Polish-born woman who was taken hostage in November, is released and returns to Warsaw. Khalifa says her captors treated her "properly."

In Mosul, U.S. troops find the bodies of nine Iraqi soldiers, all shot in the back of the head.

The Iraqi Electoral Commission announces the country will hold a national election Jan. 20, 2005.

A group of 19 countries, including the U.S., Russia, Japan and Canada, agree to write off billions of dollars of debt for Iraq.

A study by Iraq's health minister and the UN suggests malnutrition among Iraqi children has nearly doubled since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

About 5,000 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers sweep through towns southwest of Baghdad capturing 32 suspected insurgents.

The Pentagon says the number of U.S. soldiers wounded during the invasion and occupation of Iraq has topped 9,000.

At a diplomatic meeting in Egypt, 20 countries agree to support the U.S.-backed interim government in Iraq. Many of the 20 opposed the U.S.-led invasion.

U.S. military officials say the amount of weapons troops seized from rebels in Fallujah was "stunning," enough to control the entire country.

Several Iraqi political parties call for a postponement of the national election for at least six months, until the safety of voters can be guaranteed. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi rejects any delay to the election.

About 100 militants storm government buildings in Al Khalis, 65 kilometres north of Baghdad, occupying the City Hall for a brief time before U.S. and Iraqi troops recapture the building, after a two-hour gun battle.

Iraqi insurgents explode a car bomb near a police checkpoint in western Iraq, killing at least seven people.

In the last two weeks of November, dozens of Iraqi police, National Guard and government soldiers are killed in clashes with insurgents across the country.

U.S. deaths: 63
Iraqi civilian deaths: 292-311

The U.S. military claims success in controlling the Iraqi city of Samarra, an insurgent stronghold. About 3,000 U.S. and 2,000 Iraqi soldiers capture key sites in the city. Iraq's defence minister announces on television that fighting is over in the city.

Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector, presents a report to the Senate showing that, although Saddam Hussein wanted to acquire them, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Vice-President Dick Cheney says the report supports, rather than undermines, the decision to invade Iraq.

A car bomb explodes near a civil defence building in Anah, killing 10 National Guard recruits and wounding more than 20 others.

Followers of Muqtada al-Sadr agree to a ceasefire in Sadr City. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi says the Iraqi government will not negotiate or sign anything to confirm the agreement.

British hostage Kenneth Bigley is beheaded by his captors, Tawhid and Jihad, a group linked with al-Qaeda. British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he feels "utter revulsion… at the barbaric nature of the killing."

Two car bombs explode in Baghdad, killing at least 11 people, including a U.S. soldier.

Ten Turkish hostages are released after their employer, a construction company, agrees to stop work in Iraq.

American and Iraqi investigators unearth a mass grave containing 100 bodies near Hatra in northern Iraq. It's believed the bodies are those of Kurds killed during the late 1980s.

The U.S. begins an investigation into the actions of a group of army reservists who refused to go on a supply mission. The soldiers claim they were ordered to transport contaminated fuel in unarmoured and poorly maintained vehicles to an army base in an area where insurgents were active.

Staff Sgt. Ivan (Chip) Frederick pleads guilty to five charges in connection to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, including conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act. He is sentenced to eight years in prison.

Margaret Hassan, a British-Irish-Iraqi aid worker for CARE International, is kidnapped. The organization suspends operations in the country and her husband, Tahseen Ali Hassan, pleads for her release.

U.K. Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon announces that 850 British troops and support staff would be deployed to Baghdad to free up U.S. troops there.

Margaret Hassan appears in a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera, pleading for her life and begging Britain to pull its troops out of Iraq.

A car bomb outside the gates of a U.S. marine base in the city of Ramadi in western Iraq kills 16 Iraqi police officers and wounds 40 others.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the group formerly known as Tawhid and Jihad, attacks a convoy carrying recent Iraqi army recruits near Mandali in eastern Iraq, killing 49 of them. Gunmen shoot 37 of the recruits in the back of the head with their hands tied behind their backs, and the bodies of 12 others are found in a burned bus.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that 350 tonnes of explosives are missing and probably looted from Al Qaqaa, a former Iraqi military facility.

British troops begin moving from Basra in southern Iraq to Baghdad.

Margaret Hassan appears in another videotape, appealing to British Prime Minister Tony Blair not to send soldiers to Baghdad and to release female prisoners.

The Ansar al-Sunnah Army posts a video on its website showing the execution of 11 Iraqi troops, who were kidnapped in Baghdad. One of the soldiers is beheaded and the others shot.

A study in The Lancet medical journal estimates that the war in Iraq caused nearly 100,000 Iraqi deaths that would not have occurred otherwise.

Japanese tourist Shosei Koda is kidnapped from a bus station in Baghdad and killed. His captors wanted Japan to pull its troops from Iraq.

A suicide car bomb explodes and kills eight U.S. marines and wounds nine others in Anbar province, where Fallujah and Ramadi are located.

A car bomb explodes outside the Arab television station Al-Arabiya, killing seven people and wounding 19 others.

U.S. deaths: 76
Iraqi civilian deaths: 233-256

Gunmen ambush the convoy of Ahmed Chalabi, former president of the Iraqi Governing Council, wounding two of his bodyguards. Hours later, Chalabi announces that counterfeiting charges against him have been dropped.

A suicide bombing outside the police academy in Kirkuk kills at least 20 people.

A suicide bomber blows himself up near two U.S. marine vehicles, killing seven American marines and three Iraqi soldiers.

The Associated Press reports that the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq has passed 1,000.

A U.S. military court sentences military intelligence soldier Spec. Armin J. Cruz to eight months in prison after he pleaded guilty to abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison. Cruz confessed to forcing inmates to crawl naked on the floor and making them simulate sex acts.

Fighting in Baghdad and Tara, in eastern Iraq, kills more than 100 Iraqis in a single day.

Nearly 60 people are killed when a car bomb explodes near a police station in Baghdad where dozens of people are lined up to apply to join the police force. The same day, gunmen open fire on police near Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, killing 11 officers and one civilian.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan tells the BBC the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq without Security Council approval was illegal.

At least 13 people are killed and 50 injured when a car bomb explodes in front of a row of parked police cars in Baghdad.

A suicide bomber blows up a car near the headquarters of the Iraqi National Guard in Kirkuk, killing 20 people lining up to apply for jobs there.

Members of the al-Qaeda-linked group Tawhid and Jihad kidnap two Americans and a Briton from a house in an upscale Baghdad neighbourhood. Al-Jazeera television later releases video footage of the hostages and says a militant group threatened to behead the men unless its demands, including the release of all Iraqi women prisoners, were met.

A website used by Islamic militant groups posts a video showing the apparent beheading of one of the American hostages, identified as Eugene Armstrong. The website later reports that the other American hostage has been killed. The bodies of both men would later be recovered.

The website later posts a videotape of the British hostage, Kenneth Bigley, pleading for his life. "Please, please release the female prisoners that are held in Iraqi prisons," he says. British Prime Minister Tony Blair says there's little he can do to secure Bigley's release.

Al-Jazeera airs another videotape, showing a sobbing Bigley, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, talking behind an iron cage as his hands and legs are chained. Once again he pleads with Blair to help win his release.

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi speaks to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress and thanks the U.S. for liberating his country.

At a conference for the British Labour party in Brighton, U.K., Blair defends his government's action in invading Iraq. "The world is a better place with Saddam in prison and out of power," he says.

At least 35 children and seven adults are killed in a series of bombings in Baghdad. The blasts also injured 141 people, including U.S. soldiers. U.S. troops were handing out candy to children at a ceremony opening a new sewage treatment plant.

U.S. deaths: 65
Iraqi civilian deaths: 180-203

A video posted on the internet appears to show a Turkish hostage being executed by members of Tawhid and Jihad, a militant group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

A military investigator testifies that U.S. soldiers charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison were "joking around, having some fun during the night shift." The hearing is held to decide whether Pte. 1st Class Lynndie England should face a court martial for her alleged participation in the abuse. England's lawyers claim she was following orders.

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi signs an amnesty deal for Iraqis "who have committed minor crimes and have not yet been apprehended or prosecuted."

Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi opposition leader whom the U.S. once favoured to lead post-Saddam Iraq, is accused of counterfeiting old Iraqi dinars. His nephew, Salem Chalabi, the head of the tribunal trying Saddam, is accused in the killing of the director general of the finance minister.

The Iraqi government restores the death penalty.

American warplanes and helicopters attack suspected militant positions in Najaf, where insurgents loyal to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are based. Fighting spreads from Najaf to other Shia areas of the country. Al-Sadr says he will continue to fight the U.S. occupation in Iraq "until the last drop of my blood has been spilled."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says American forces in Najaf are "squeezing the city… to help stabilize the situation and deal with the Mahdi Army." About 2,000 U.S. marines and 1,800 Iraqi soldiers form a perimeter around the city while Iraqi officials negotiate with al-Sadr's supporters.

Talks between Iraqi officials and Shia militants in Najaf break down. Al-Sadr had demanded that the U.S. withdraw its soldiers from the city. He also wanted amnesty for his fighters in exchange for disarming the militia and pulling them out of the Imam Ali shrine.

An official with the Iraqi interior ministry says all journalists have been ordered to leave Najaf for their safety.

A U.S. warplane drops a bomb on Najaf's major cemetery, adjacent to the Imam Ali shrine, where militants loyal to al-Sadr have been stationed. The Iraqi interim government sends a delegation to meet with the militants.

Al-Sadr agrees to disarm his Mahdi Army, leave the Imam Ali shrine and transform the militia into a political party. Al-Sadr later rescinds the agreement via a text message to the Iraqi cabinet: "Either martyrdom or victory."

U.S. tanks, warplanes and helicopters bombard targets near the Imam Ali mosque for five hours. Iraq's health ministry would later say that 77 Iraqis died during the bombing. The shrine itself appears undamaged.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a top Shia cleric, agrees to take control of the Imam Ali shrine to break the two-week standoff between militants there, and Iraqi and U.S. troops.

Fighting continues as U.S. tanks move in towards the shrine. The shrine's outer wall is damaged in the battle and an aide to al-Sadr claims shrapnel hit the shrine's golden dome. The U.S. military denies damaging the shrine.

Al-Sistani brokers a peace deal between the Iraqi government and the militants, promising amnesty to al-Sadr. Iraqi police and national guardsmen surround the shrine, as thousands of pilgrims, who had accompanied al-Sistani, flood into the holy site.

An aide to al-Sadr says he has called for a countrywide ceasefire.

An independent commission into the Abu Ghriab prison abuses says senior Pentagon officials share part of the blame for the "sadism" and "chaos" that occurred there. Another report on the prison blames individual misconduct and a failure of leadership for the abuse.

JULY 2004
U.S. deaths: 54
Iraqi civilian deaths: 245-254

Deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein appears in a Baghdad courtroom to be arraigned on seven charges. "This is theatre. The real criminal is Bush," says Saddam, who identifies himself to the court as "Saddam Hussein Al-Majeed, president of the Republic of Iraq." Saddam refuses to sign court documents without the presence of his lawyer.

The U.S. Senate releases a scathing report saying pre-war intelligence claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was wrong and overstated. "That information was flawed," says Senator Pat Roberts, the Republican committee chair. Democratic Senator John Rockefeller calls it "the most devastating losses and intelligence failures in the history of the nation."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair accepts responsibility for flaws in the country's pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons program. Lord Robin Butler, leader of a five-month inquiry into the intelligence dossier, said Saddam "did not have significant, if any, stocks of chemical or biological weapons in a state fit for deployment or developed plans for using them."

The U.S. launches an air strike on a suspected safehouse used by foreign militants in Fallujah. Hospital officials say 11 people are killed in the strike.

Iraqi militants free Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz two weeks after taking him hostage to force the Philippine government to pull its troops from Iraq. De la Cruz is dropped off on the steps of the United Arab Emirates' Embassy in Baghdad. The Philippines withdrew its 51 soldiers from Iraq a month early meet the demands of the kidnappers.

A roadside bomb kills a member of the 1st Infantry Division. The Associated Press says the incident puts the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq at 900.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with Saudi leaders in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. They discuss a proposal for a stabilization force in Iraq made up of soldiers from Muslim countries that don't border Iraq, such as Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Morocco. Pakistan announces it could also send troops to join the force.

Militants announce they have killed two Pakistani hostages because Pakistan is considering sending troops to Iraq.

Powell also meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in Saudi Arabia. Allawi throws his support behind the plan for a Muslim force in Iraq. Powell then makes a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he meets with John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh.

At least 68 people die when a truck bomb explodes in a crowd gathered to register for police jobs in Baqouba, 55 kilometres northeast of Baghdad.

JUNE 2004
U.S. deaths: 42
Iraqi civilian deaths: 311-342

Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, the head of Iraq's Governing Council, is named president of the country after the Americans' preferred candidate, Adnan Pachachi, turned down the post. Al-Yawer has been critical of security under the U.S.-led occupation. The new Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, and the rest of the cabinet are also named.

Allawi tells his people the U.S.-led occupation should remain in Iraq even after the June 30 handover of power. He also announces an agreement that will see nine Iraqi militias disband. The militias involved in the deal do not include the al-Mahdi Army, followers of Muqtada al-Sadr.

Two car bombings, one in Baqouba in the north and one in Mosul, kill 14 Iraqis and an American soldier, and injure dozens of others.

The UN Security Council unanimously votes to transfer sovereignty in Iraq to a national government and end the rule of the Coalition Provisional Authority on June 30.

The U.S. commission investigating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, reports that there is "no credible evidence" that Iraq and al-Qaeda co-operated in the attacks.

A sport utility vehicle filled with artillery shells explodes outside a crowded Iraqi army recruiting office in Baghdad, killing 41 people and injuring 150 others.

A U.S. aircraft fires two missiles at a house in a residential neighbourhood in Fallujah, killing 22 people, including three women and five children. The explosion destroys two buildings and damages six others. U.S. officials say the house was used by associates of Iraq's most wanted militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Iraqi militants, purportedly linked to al-Qaeda, release a videotape showing 33-year-old Korean hostage Kim Sun-il pleading for his life. The militants demand that South Korea stop its planned deployment of 3,000 more troops to Iraq. Seoul refuses. South Korea's foreign minister later confirms that militants in Iraq have beheaded Kim.

Co-ordinated attacks on government and police buildings across Iraq kill about 100 people and injure another 320. Tawhid and Jihad, a wing of a group led by militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been linked to al-Qaeda, claims responsibility.

The U.S. launches an air strike on a building in Fallujah suspected of being the hideout of militants linked to al-Qaeda, killing 25 people.

The U.S. transfers sovereignty to Iraq two days ahead of schedule in an apparent bid to foil disruptions by insurgents. The country's new government is formally sworn in and former U.S. governor Paul Bremer leaves the country.

Iraqis are given legal custody of Saddam Hussein and 11 others, including former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali." The 12 are now criminal defendants, not prisoners of war, although they are still being held in prisons run by the U.S. and guarded by the U.S. military.

MAY 2004
U.S. deaths: 80
Iraqi civilian deaths: 187-206

About 700 U.S. marines leave Fallujah as part of a pullout plan. Scores of Iraqis take to the street in celebration.

President Bush appears on two Arabic-language TV stations and vows that those responsible for the "abhorrent" abuse of Iraqi prisoners will be "held to account" for their crimes.

With King Abdullah of Jordan at his side, President Bush issues an apology for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners from the White House Rose Garden. Bush promises a full investigation.

U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld apologizes for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. "As secretary of defence, I am accountable for them. I take full responsibility," he says.

Sabrina Harman, one of the American soldiers charged in the prison abuse scandal, says she and her fellow military police were following orders from military intelligence.

U.S. President George W. Bush stands by his defence secretary in the face of increasing calls for his resignation, saying Donald Rumsfeld is "doing a superb job."

A video on a website linked to al-Qaeda shows a captured American civilian, who identifies himself as Nick Berg, being beheaded with a knife. One of the five men, wearing headscarves, is shown holding the head to the camera as the men shout "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great." The man who cuts Berg's head off is identified as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. The killing is apparently in retaliation for the abuse of Iraqi soldiers by U.S. troops. "The dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib [prison] and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls," says one of the men.

Members of the U.S. Congress view new photos and videos of prisoner abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison. The abuse includes forced simulated acts of homosexual sex, dogs snarling at prisoners, and female prisoners ordered to exposes their breasts. "Take the worst case and multiply it several times over," said Democratic Senator Ron Wyden.

The U.S. frees nearly 300 Iraqis from Abu Ghraib prison. Some of the former prisoners tell reporters they saw evidence of abuse of other prisoners and were forced to undress in front of female guards. Some say were never told why they were arrested.

Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits is sentenced to a year in prison for his role in the abuse of Iraqi detainees in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.

Iraqi officials claim more than 40 people are killed when an American helicopter fired on a wedding party in al-Qaim, Iraq.

The final group of Spanish soldiers leaves Iraq.

Hussain al-Sharistani, a nuclear scientist who earned his doctorate at the University of Toronto, turns down an offer to serve as Iraqi prime minister.

Iraq's Governing Council names Ayad Allawi as the man who will become prime minister once the Americans hand power to an interim government. The former Baath Party loyalist had returned to Iraq after Saddam was ousted. He had lived in exile since 1971 and had formed the opposition Iraqi National Accord.

APRIL 2004
U.S. deaths: 135
Iraqi civilian deaths: 338-345*

Twelve U.S. marines are killed when a group of Iraqis attack their position near the governor's palace in Ramadi. The Iraqi insurgents also take heavy casualties. American troops block the entrances to Fallujah and attack militant positions deep in the city.

A U.S. helicopter fires three missiles into a mosque in Fallujah, killing at least 40 people.

A ceasefire is declared in Fallujah, where at least 600 Iraqis have died since the fighting broke out.

Bush appears in a prime-time televised new conference and stands by his policy on Iraq, saying, "We're changing the world." U.S. forces set up checkpoints around Najaf to try to find Muqtada al-Sadr, a Muslim cleric suspected of leading rebel forces.

Arab network al-Jazeera receives a videotape showing the killing of an Italian hostage.

Muqtada al-Sadr calls for a two-day ceasefire to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad's death, but talks to end clashes break down.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero orders all Spanish troops out of Iraq as soon as possible.

Honduras announces it will withdraw its troops as soon as possible.

U.S. President Bush nominates UN Ambassador John Negroponte as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

Four car bombs explode in Basra, a British-controlled city in southern Iraq, near three police stations and a police academy. An hour later, a fifth car bomb explodes at another academy. The attacks kill 68 people, including 16 school children, and injure more than 200 others. A ceasefire in Fallujah fails and fighting between U.S. troops and Sunni insurgents resumes.

Iraq's Governing Council picks a new flag for the country, featuring blue and yellow stripes and a pale blue crescent, only to have it criticized for being too similar to Israel's.

The U.S. military charges six soldiers after photographs of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners are published. The British military also begins investigating the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. Both governments stress that they were the acts of individual soldiers.

A former general in Saddam Hussein's army is slated to lead the Fallujah Protective Army, a force of some 1,100 Iraqi soldiers that will be responsible for the city's security.

MARCH 2004
U.S. deaths: 50
Iraqi civilian deaths: 675-693*

Iraq's interim government council agrees on a temporary constitution that limits the role of Islamic law in the country, making it one source for the country's civil law, but not the primary one. It also allows some autonomy for Kurds in the northern part of Iraq and sets aside 25 per cent of the seats in the legislature for women.

At least 58 people are killed and 200 wounded when at least three suicide bombers set off their explosives in a mosque in northern Baghdad as tens of thousands of Shias marked the climax of the Ashoura festival. In the holy city of Karbala, at least 85 people die and 100 are injured in another attack.

U.S. President George W. Bush marks the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by calling the first day of the war a "day of deliverance" for the Iraqi people.

Millions of people around the world take to the streets to protest against the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and to mark the first anniversary of the U.S. war aimed at ousting Saddam Hussein.

Four U.S. civilian contractors are killed when Iraqi gunmen attack their two four-wheel drive vehicles. The four bodies are taken from the burning vehicles, dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge. Some of the bodies are dismembered.

U.S. deaths: 20
Iraqi civilian deaths: 647-663*

More than 100 people are killed in suicide bomb attacks on two Kurdish party headquarters in Irbil in northern Iraq.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan announces that the UN will send a transition team to Iraq to help establish a new provisional government.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shia cleric, survives an assassination attempt in Najaf after gunmen fired on his car. Sistani had spoken out against the U.S. plan for transferring power back to Iraqis through indirect regional caucuses, preferring direct elections.

A blast outside a police station in Iskandariyah, about 50 kilometres south of Baghdad, kills 53 people and injures as many as 75.

An army recruiting centre in Baghdad is the target of a suicide car bombing that kills 47 people.

Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, says elections in Iraq may be delayed until 2005 because of a lack of elections laws or a reliable voters list.

U.S. deaths: 47
Iraqi civilian deaths: 466-482*

Japan sends 30 members of its Ground Self Defence Force to Iraq as an advance team to give humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. The full deployment would eventually include as many as 600 ground troops and 400 sailors. Is it Japan's largest overseas military mission since the Second World War.

About 30 people are killed in a suicide car bombing near the main gate of the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, formerly one of Saddam Hussein's palaces.

David Kay steps down as the chief U.S. arms inspector. He later says after nine months of searching he doubts Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. He also questions the abilities of the American intelligence services.

U.S. deaths: 40
Iraqi civilian deaths: 423-439*

The convoy of U.S. administrator Paul Bremer hits an explosive device and comes under gunfire in Baghdad. Bremer escapes uninjured.

Saddam Hussein is captured in a tiny bunker near his hometown of Tikrit. "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him. The tyrant is a prisoner," the chief civilian administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, would announce the next day.

A car bomb explosion outside a police station west of Baghdad kills at least 17 people and injures 33.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says the UN must take a leading role in rebuilding the country and accuses the organization of not helping Iraq in the past by allowing Saddam Hussein to stay in power.

U.S. deaths: 82
Iraqi civilian deaths: 469-484*

The UN Security Council unanimously approves a U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for financial and military aid in the reconstruction of Iraq.

U.S. President George W. Bush signs a bill giving more than $87 billion to finance the occupation of Iraq. U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld alerts nearly 130,000 to prepare for a year-long tour in Iraq.

The International Committee of the Red Cross closes its offices in Baghdad and Basra because of the increased violence.

About 32 people are killed, including 19 Italian soldiers and eight Iraqis, when a truck bomb explodes outside Italian police headquarters in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.

The Iraqi governing council sets a timetable for the handover of power in the country, setting June 2004 as a deadline for having a provisional government in place.

President George W. Bush makes a surprise visit to Baghdad for Thanksgiving dinner with American troops. Bush is on the ground for about 2½ hours.

U.S. deaths: 44
Iraqi civilian deaths: 469-501*

Iraq removes Saddam Hussein's image from its currency.

At least 10 people are dead after a suicide car bomb explodes at a police station in the Shia district of Sadr City, northeast of Baghdad.

Thirty-five people are killed, and more than 200 injured in four separate car bombings in Baghdad. One explodes outside the headquarters of International Committee of the Red Cross, three others outside or near Iraqi police stations. A suspected car bomber is detained outside another police station.

U.S. deaths: 30
Iraqi civilian deaths: 522-533*

Car bomb kills one at police headquarters in Baghdad

A car bomb wounds 53 people, including six American military personnel, in Irbil, northern Iraq. Only the bomber is killed.

Iraq's former defence minister accepts a negotiated surrender and turns himself over to U.S. custody.

Two people are killed, including the bomber, in a car bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.

A bomb planted on a roadway destroys two buses in Baghdad. One person is killed and more than 20 wounded. The same day, an explosion in a cinema in Mosul kills two and injures up to 20.

U.S. deaths: 35
Iraqi civilian deaths: 379-405*

At least 17 people are killed in a bombing at the Jordanian Embassy.

Twenty-three people are dead, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and two Canadians, after a bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

A Pentagon official announces that former Iraqi defence minister Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali," is in U.S. custody.

Shia Muslim leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim is among 125 dead after a car bomb explodes at the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf.

JULY 2003
U.S. deaths: 47
Iraqi civilian deaths: 375-398*

A blast kills seven Iraqi police recruits at their graduation ceremony in Ramadi.

Washington admits that claims President Bush made in his state of the union message about Iraq's nuclear program were wrong.

U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld says the U.S. didn't declare war on Iraq because of new evidence of banned weapons, but because existing evidence was seen in a new light after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The director of the CIA says his agency was to blame for Bush's false claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from Africa.

The U.S. administration in Iraq appoints a new governing council, which quickly cancels all holidays associated with the Saddam regime and declares April 9, the date of Saddam's deposement, a national holiday.

U.S. administrator Paul Bremer predicts that Iraqis could be voting in a general election by mid-2004.

JUNE 2003
U.S. deaths: 30
Iraqi civilian deaths: 412-443*

Bush tells U.S. troops in Qatar the invasion of Iraq was justified and vows to "reveal the truth" about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

An explosion beside a mosque in Fallujah kills nine Iraqis, including an imam.

Six British soldiers are killed in two attacks in Basra.

MAY 2003
U.S. deaths: 37

A jet carrying U.S. President George W. President Bush, dressed in a navy flight suit, lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Later, with a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" behind him, Bush declares an end to major conflict and thanks American troops for a "job well done."

The UN Security Council lifts economic sanctions against Iraq and gives the U.S. and U.K. control of the country until a government is formed.

Source: CBC, AP, iraqbodycount.net

* These death figures are estimates based on figures from iraqbodycount.net that span several months, for example, deaths recorded in Iraqi morgues. The figures have been averaged over the months they span.

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