Key events since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq:


March 20 — U.S.-led coalition launches Operation Iraqi Freedom to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

April 9 — U.S. troops swarm into Baghdad and jubilant crowds topple 40-foot statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdous Square.

May 1 — President Bush declares major combat operations in Iraq are over.

July 13 — U.S.-named 25-member National Governing Council of prominent Iraqis takes office.

Aug. 19 — Truck bomb wrecks United Nations offices, killing 23 people, including U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Nov. 15 — Plan to transfer power to interim Iraqi government by July 2004 approved.

Dec. 13 — Saddam captured in Adwar, 10 miles south of Tikrit.


March 8 — Iraqi Governing Council signs interim constitution.

April 30 — First graphic photographs shown of naked Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by smiling U.S. military police at Abu Ghraib prison; scandal causes outrage in the region.

May 28 — Governing Council chooses Ayad Allawi, longtime anti-Saddam exile and CIA ally, as prime minister of Iraq's interim government.

June 1 — Governing Council names Ghazi al-Yawer, critic of U.S.-led occupation, as president. Council dissolves.

June 8 — U.N. Security Council approves U.S.-British timetable for interim regime, elections and adoption of constitution.

June 28 — Occupation authority turns formal power over to Allawi's interim government.

July 1 — Saddam, arraigned before judge, rejects charges of war crimes and genocide.

Aug. 12 — U.S. military begins major offensive against militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in holy city of Najaf.

Aug. 27 — Al-Sadr's militia leaves Najaf's Imam Ali Shrine and hands control to Shiite religious authorities.

Sept. 7 — U.S. military deaths in Iraq campaign pass 1,000.

Sept. 16 — Number of foreigners kidnapped during insurgency reaches at least 100.

Oct. 6 — Top U.S. arms inspector finds no evidence Saddam's regime produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991.

Nov. 1 — Voter and candidate registration begin for national election.

Nov. 7 — Allawi's government announces two-month state of emergency in all but Kurdish-ruled northern areas as a tool in fight against insurgents.

Nov. 8 — U.S. troops begin weeklong offensive to break insurgents' control of Fallujah.

Nov. 21 — Iraqi authorities set Jan. 30 as date for election.

Dec. 15 — Beginning of political campaigns by candidates, but violence makes public campaigning virtually impossible.

Dec. 21 — Bombing in mess tent at U.S. military base in Mosul kills 24 wounds more than 60.

Dec. 27 — Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in audiotape, endorses Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq and calls for election boycott.


Jan. 4 — Gunmen assassinate Baghdad Gov. Ali al-Haidari.

Jan. 6 — Iraq extends state of emergency by 30 days.

Jan. 17 — Voter registration for Iraqi expatriates begins in 14 countries.

Jan. 26 — 31 U.S. servicemen die in helicopter crash and six others killed in insurgent ambushes, making deadliest day for Americans since Iraq invaded.

Jan. 28 — Overseas Iraqis begin three days of voting in 14 nations.

Jan. 30 — Voters in Iraq cast ballots for 275-seat National Assembly.

Feb. 13 — Election results announced. Shiite-dominated party wins about 48 percent of the vote, Kurdish alliance finishes with 26 percent.