When U.S. intelligence informed President Bush it had a "target of opportunity" Wednesday, "Operation Iraqi Freedom" began as the president ordered a cruise missile attack on facilities believed to house high-ranking Iraqi military leaders — including Saddam Hussein. In the days following, the missile attacks continued as U.S. and coalition forces advanced toward Baghdad.
The initial attack
Approximately 40 U.S. Tomahawk missiles launched from ships in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, accompanied by precision-guided bombs dropped from F-117 stealth fighters, destroy facilities believed to contain Iraqi military leaders.
Iraqi television broadcasts Saddam Hussein saying "Iraq will be victorious."
At least four Iraqi missiles launched at Kuwait. Patriot missile batteries show one down, while others land in the northern Kuwaiti desert and Kuwait Bay.
At least three oil wells set on fire near Basra, an oil-producing center in Iraq's southern region.
The U.S. 3rd and 1st Marine divisions enter Iraq from the south.
Baghdad under fire
The U.S. launches more than 320 Tomahawk missiles on government and Republican Guard positions in Baghdad.
British Royal Marines cross into Iraq near the head of the gulf and secure the Al Faw peninsula.
Australian forces seize an Iraqi tugboat carrying more than 60 sea mines.
Eight British Royal Marines and four American Marines die when their CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashes before dawn in Kuwait.
Two Marines killed in a gunfight near the Al Rumeila oil fields and another killed as coalition forces secure the southern port of Umm Qasr and the H-2 and H-3 airfields in Iraq's western region.
8,000 Iraqi troops surrender to coalition forces near Basra.
Still on the move
The bombing campaign in Baghdad continue through the night as strategic targets around the city are hit.
Under Iraqi artillery fire, British and U.S. forces advance north through Basra.
Two British Royal Navy helicopters collide over Persian Gulf, killing all seven on board.
U.S. forces cross Euphrates River — halfway to Baghdad.
Northern city of Mosul and suspected positions of the Ansar al Islam guerrillas are hit by airstrikes.
One soldier killed and more than a dozen soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division camped in Kuwait are wounded by a grenade attack in a command tent. An American soldier is detained as a suspect.
U.S. forces secured city of Nassiriyah in south central Iraq.
Iraqi TV broadcasts footage of Saddam and son Quasy in meetings with senior officials.
As of Saturday, more than 400 Tomahawks have been fired on targets in Iraq.
SOURCE: AP GRAPHICS