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War with Iraq / Initial Assault

The latest developments

March 20, 2003|Los Angeles Times

* A coalition headed by the United States launched Tomahawk cruise missiles and dropped bombs from stealth aircraft near Baghdad in a preliminary salvo that a U.S. government source said was aimed at "senior elements of the Iraqi leadership." There was no comment on whether the targets included Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who was not injured. Shortly afterward, President Bush told the nation that the war had begun.

* At the border with Kuwait, 17 Iraqi soldiers surrendered before the fighting began.

* Under strong U.S. pressure, the Turkish government asked its parliament to open Turkey's airspace to American missiles and warplanes, but it added a request to send two brigades of Turkish troops into Iraq's Kurdish-controlled region. U.S. hopes to deploy ground troops bound for Iraq and use Turkish bases for bombing raids were dashed.

* In a presentation scheduled before the U.N. withdrew its weapons inspectors, chief inspector Hans Blix gave the Security Council a list of key remaining disarmament tasks for Iraq. But he said the list now "would seem to have only limited practical relevance."

* The U.S. and Britain indicated that they plan to seek up to three new resolutions concerning the political and physical reconstruction of Iraq.

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