Updated: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 02:45:00 GMT | By Ian Jones
Iraq war: timeline in pictures

20 March 2003: the invasion begins



A US Marine F18 roars into the night from its base in Kuwait towards its mission over Iraq on 20 March 2003 (© AP Photo/Russell Boyce)
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  • A US Marine F18 roars into the night from its base in Kuwait towards its mission over Iraq on 20 March 2003 (© AP Photo/Russell Boyce)
  • An explosion rocks Baghdad during air strikes on 21 March 2003 (© REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
  • Smoke rises above one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in Baghdad on 21 March 2003. (© Alexandra Boulat/VII/Corbis)
  • A dead Iraqi soldier is covered by a blanket on a road in the Al Faw peninsula on 22 March 2003, where British Marines from 40 and 42 commando are operating (© AP Photo/Jim Gibson)
  • British Marines from 40 Commando evacuate Iraqi prisoners on the Al Faw peninsula on 22 March 2003 (© AP Photo/Jim Gibson)
  • An Iraqi boy watches a battle between Iraqi militia men and the British 2nd royal tank regiment, in the southern Iraqi town of Zubayr on 27 March 2003 (© REUTERS/Jerry Lampen)
  • Gurkhas check the occupants of a truck for weapons on 1 April 2003 on a road west of Basra (© Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
  • The statue of Saddam Hussein is toppled in central Baghdad on 9 April 2003 (© REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
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The Iraq war began on 20 March 2003 (19 March in America). A US-led coalition of forces, comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland, launched a series of air strikes on various targets across Iraq. It was the first day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, intended to overthrow the ruling Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein. In this picture, a US Marine F18 roars into the night from its base in Kuwait towards its mission over Iraq during the first night of operations.

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