10-Year Iraq War Timeline

On the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, here's a look back at pivotal moments of the war, from the capture of former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein to the prison scandal of Abu Ghraib.

RELATED: Lingering Questions 10 Years On

Oct. 2, 2002

VIDEO: Congress authorizes the president to use force as he deems necessary.
ABC News
Congress Authorizes Iraq War

On Oct. 2, President George W. Bush announced the introduction of the Joint Resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Congress came to an agreement on U.S. involvement in Iraq later that month and Bush signed the bill Oct. 16. This bill ultimately gave Bush the authorization to use force as he deemed necessary.

See More: Storify: A Look Back On The Iraq War

"In Baghdad, the regime will note that full compliance with all U.N. security demands is the only choice," Bush read in the Rose Garden after Congress's decision. "And the time remaining for that choice is limited."

What ensued was a nine-year combat engagement that cost more than 4,400 U.S. lives and more than $728.4. billion in direct appropriations.

March 19, 2003

VIDEO: Pres. Bush's deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to step down passes.
ABC News
Combat Begins

President Bush announces the United States will invade Iraq. Military strikes began against targeted members of Saddam Hussein's regime. Two days earlier, Bush issued an ultimatum to Hussein to step down as leader of the country, but the deadline for Hussein to step down came and went.

April 3, 2003

VIDEO: U.S. troops take control of the Saddam International Airport in Baghdad.
ABC News
Saddam Hussein Iraq Airport Overtaken

The U.S. troops faced almost no military opposition as they took over the Saddam International Airport. The U.S. military's strategy for taking over Baghdad was to isolate it from the rest of the country.

ABC News anchor Peter Jennings called it a "tremendous psychological impact" on the Iraqi psyche and regime.

April 9, 2003

VIDEO: Saddam Hussein's government crumbles and U.S. forces control parts of Baghdad.
ABC News
Hussein's Regime Toppled

With the symbolic toppling of a statue of Hussein came the toppling of an era in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's regime officially collapsed in April 2003 as the U.S. military and its allies gained control of certain areas in Iraq's capital after days of fighting.

Troops were greeted by smiling and waving citizens who thanked the U.S. government for fighting against Hussein's regime.

May 1, 2003

VIDEO: Pres. Bush applauds troops on the USS Abraham Lincoln for success in Iraq.
ABC News
George W. Bush Says 'Mission Accomplished'

Bush lands on the USS Abraham Lincoln and states that the mission in Iraq has been accomplished as "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." He said U.S. allies and troops had prevailed but did not say that the United States had yet won the war.

But the battles continued. A grenade attack wounded seven U.S. soldiers in Fallujah earlier in the week Bush announced the end to major combat operations.

Dec. 14, 2003

Saddam Hussein Captured

After nine months of hiding, Saddam Hussein was captured by the United States in a "spider hole" next to a farmhouse 15 miles from his hometown of Tikrit. Hussein reportedly surrendered without a fight. Iraqi citizens celebrated in streets across the country. There were no shots fired or injuries sustained during the capture. About $750,000 and two AK-47 rifles were found on the scene. Hussein was later taken into custody and given medical attention but was described as "disoriented" and "haggard."

Nov. 10, 2004

Fierce Fighting in Fallujah

The city of Fallujah became a flashpoint of the growing Iraqi insurgency after four U.S. contractors were killed following an ambush. Their burned bodies were hung from a bridge in March 2004. U.S. forces fought to gain control over the insurgent-filled city, ultimately turning control over to Iraqi forces. But the city became a haven for insurgents, many of them foreign fighters, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. U.S. Marines launched an offensive in November. It was ultimately successful but 95 American troops were killed. Fallujah is remembered as the biggest battle of the war and the bloodiest for U.S. forces since the Vietnam War.

July 22, 2003

VIDEO: Uday and Qusay Hussein die in a military shootout in Iraq.
ABC News
Saddam Hussein's Sons Killed

Uday and Qusay Hussein were captured and killed July 22, 2003. A regional tribal leader, Sheikh Nawaf al-Zaydan Muhammad, tipped off U.S. troops about the brothers' hideout location in Mosul, Iraq. The brothers were using his villa as shelter.

An intense, six-hour fight ensued as troops swarmed the villa. Resistance from inside the building was fierce, prompting U.S. forces to use antitank missiles, rockets and gunfire. At the time, the capture of Hussein's sons was the most successful U.S. operation in Iraq.

Al-Zaydan earned a $30 million reward from the Pentagon, $15 million for each son. His villa was destroyed as a result of the fight.

April

2004

VIDEO: U.S. soldiers took demeaning photos of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
ABC News
Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

In April 2004, the now infamous photographic evidence of torture practices in Abu Ghraib prison surfaced. Photos of Iraqi prisoners wearing hoods while being positioned in humiliating poses brought on a mass worldwide outrage at U.S. practices in Iraq. Responses to the evidence in Middle Eastern countries were overwhelmingly negative.

The Bush Administration maintained that the practices shown in the photos were the actions of a few bad apples and were not indicative of U.S. policy in the region. The soldiers involved in the documented torture practices were either convicted in military court proceedings or removed from duty.

Nov. 19, 2005

VIDEO: Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich accepts plea deal in 2005 killing of Iraqi civilians.
ABCNEWS.com
Haditha Killings

Twenty-four Iraqi civilians are shot and killed in their homes by a squad of Marines in the rural town of Haditha. The Marines had allegedly entered the homes looking for those responsible for a roadside blast that had killed one of their own as they drove in a convoy. Eight Marines were initially charged for their involvement in the shootings, but seven had their charges dropped or dismissed. In January 2012, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich accepted a plea deal for leading the Marines squad into the houses. Wuterich was found guilty of a single count of negligent dereliction of duty and was reduced in rank to a private, but avoided jail time.

Jan. 29, 2006

Bob Woodruff, Cameraman Injured

On Jan. 29, 2006, ABC News journalist Bob Woodruff was reporting from Iraq when he and cameraman Doug Vogt were injured in a roadside bomb explosion. Both men suffered head injuries and had serious wounds on their upper bodies.

Woodruff and Vogt were rushed to a U.S. military hospital in Iraq where they underwent surgery before being transferred to another hospital in Germany.

Following his recovery, Woodruff turned his experience into an in-depth look at how military personnel deal with life-altering war injuries.

Feb. 22, 2006

Samarra Shrine Bombed

On Feb. 26, 2006, a bomb completely destroyed one of Shia Islam's holiest shrines, the iconic golden dome of the Askariya Shrine in Samarra, Iraq, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

In response to the attack on the Shrine, Shiite militia members crowded the streets, launching grenades and firing shots with machine guns at Sunni mosques. Twenty-seven Sunni mosques were destroyed and at least 15 people were dead, but the violence was a sign of things to come as the bombing ignited the sectarian killings between Sunni and Shiite Iraqis that dominated Iraq for several years.

Jan. 10, 2007

VIDEO: General David Patraeus demonstrates the impact the surge has had on Baghdad.
ABC News
Bush Announces Plan for Troop Surge

President George W. Bush announces a "surge" of 20,000 additional U.S. troops to provide greater security in Baghdad and surrounding areas. To facilitate the arrival of the troops in the following six months, many Army soldiers and Marines saw their tours of duty extended. Bush said the surge would aim to teach Iraqis how to govern themselves and secure their local populations.

January 2, 2008

VIDEO: What effect did one battle have on families at home?
ABC News
Martha Raddatz Publishes Book on Iraq War

Martha Raddatz's book" The Long Road Home" is published. The book tells the story of a group of soldiers from the Army's First Cavalry Division who survived a surprise attack in Sadr City April 4, 2004. Eight soldiers died and more than 70 were wounded in the battle, which showed that the Iraqi insurgency was growing. The book also told the story of the battle from the perspective of their families back home at Fort Hood, Texas.

October 2011

VIDEO: Condoleezza Rice discusses the Iraq War.
ABC News
Condoleezza Rice Says Bush Advisers Were 'Hawkish'

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about her time in the Bush Administration. Rice said much of the staff surrounding President Bush at the time of the Iraq War was "very, very hawkish" and "determined to drive policy from the vice president's office."

Rice also said she and Vice President Dick Cheney clashed over a number of policy decisions, including detainee treatment measures. Additionally, the former secretary of state said the Department of Defense did not "execute at critical times" in reference to key issues in Iraq.

December 2011

VIDEO: Martha Raddatz discusses the end of the war in Iraq.
ABC News
Final U.S. Troops Leave Iraq

In December 2011, after nearly nine years of combat, the last brigades of U.S. troops left Iraq, bringing an end to the Iraq War. In its conclusion, the war lasted longer than the Vietnam War and involved more than 1.5 million military personnel. The war also claimed the lives of 4,488 U.S. soldiers and left 32,226 wounded. In total, more than $700 billion

was spent on financing the Iraq War.

Despite the Iraq War's official conclusion, fears of sectarian violence persist, leading to a sizeable presence of security contractors to protect U.S. State Department personnel.

Dec. 15, 2011

Obama Speaks About Troop Withdrawal

On Dec. 15, 2011, President Obama thanked returning soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., for their service in the Iraq War. The president also thanked the families of service members for their continued support and service for the duration of the war.

"The last tactical road march out of Iraq will be a symbol, and [the remaining soldiers] are going to be a part of history," President Obama said. "As your commander in chief, I can tell you it will indeed be a part of history."

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