Cubana de AviaciónAN-24 airplane on a flight from the Isle of Youth in Cuba to Havana with 46 passengers on board is hijacked and directed towards the United States. After refueling in Havana the plane flew to Key West, under escort by two US jet fighters. The plane landed safely in Key West.
The Senate of Belgium approves a change in the nation's war crimes law so that it will no longer apply to citizens of nations with sufficient human rights laws. The House of Representatives had already approved the change. The law had been used in the past to charge such people as George H. W. Bush, Colin Powell and Ariel Sharon with war crimes, and had interfered with Belgium's international relations.
British forces step up their presence in the southern Iraq city of Basra. According to embedded journalists, the citizens of Basra braved gunfire to dance in the streets and cheer for the British troops. UPI's Chief International Correspondent Martin Walker claimed that he had witnessed at least one Basra citizen kiss a British tank.
In a friendly fire incident, U.S. warplanes struck a convoy of allied Kurdish fighters and U.S. Special Forces during a battle in northern Afghanistan. At least 18 people are killed and more than 45 wounded, including senior Kurdish commanders.
In Oakland, California, police fired rubber bullets and beanbags at anti-war protesters and dockworkers outside the Port, injuring at least a dozen demonstrators and six longshoremen standing nearby. Most of the 500 demonstrators were dispersed peacefully, but a crowd of demonstrators was blocking traffic on private property near the port and fail to disperse after police warnings. Oakland Police Chief said demonstrators also threw objects and bolts at them, and said the use of weapons was necessary to disperse the crowd. He indicated non-lethal projectiles were used to respond to direct illegal action. The longshoremen were caught in the crossfire. A dockworker spokesman reported Police gave two minutes to disperse, then did not move to arrest people, instead they opened fire. Demonstrators also claim though the rubber bullets were supposed to be shot at the ground, the Police took direct aim at them. Oakland police said 31 people were arrested at the port.
More than a dozen Coalition soldiers, a Knight Ridder reporter, a CNN cameraman and two Iraqi prisoners of war are sent for chemical weapons decontamination after exhibiting symptoms of possible exposure to tabun and sarin nerve agents and lewisite blistering agents while searching an Iraqi agriculturalwarehouse and a nearby military compound on the Euphrates river between the cities of Kerbala and Hilla. U.S. soldiers found eleven 25–gallon barrels and three 55-gallon chemical drums, hundreds of gas masks and chemical suits, along with large numbers of mortar and artillery rounds. Initial tests of the chemicals were positive, then a second test was done which came back negative. A third test, conducted by a mobile testing unit provided by Germany confirmed the existence of sarin. Some reports indicate that the chemicals found at the agricultural warehouse may turn out to be pesticides. Further tests are planned in the United States. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said later in a Pentagon briefing that "almost all first reports we get, turn out to be wrong. We don't do first reports and we don't speculate.",
Deaths of three journalists in Baghdad: Two American air to surface missiles hit the Qatarsatellite station Al Jazeera's office in Baghdad and kill a reporter and wound a cameraman. U.S. Officials said that the offices were not targeted, but were right next to the Iraqi Ministry of Information building which was a target. The nearby office of Arab satellite channel Abu Dhabi is also hit by air strikes. Al Jazeera accuses the U.S. of attacking Arab media to hide facts. On the same day a U.S. tank fires into the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where almost all remaining foreign journalists are based, and kills two cameramen and wounds three. In the Abu Dhabi case the station airs the picture of Iraqi fire from beneath of the camera. In the hotel case, however, other journalists on the scene deny any fire from or around the hotel.,
Baghdad falls to coalition forces. American infantrymen seize deserted Ba'ath Party ministries and pull down a huge iron statue of Saddam Hussein at the Firdos Square in front of the Palestine Hotel, as a symbolic ending his autocratic rule of Iraq. Baghdad citizens then dragged the severed head of the statue through the streets of the city. Dozens of people there cheer U.S. soldiers, according to BBC. Much looting of cars and buildings is seen in Baghdad and other cities as the government and police lost control.
The fate of Saddam Hussein remains unknown after a U.S. B-1B bomber dropped four 2,000-pound bunker-busting bombs on a building where Hussein was thought to be meeting with his sons and senior aides on April 7. The bombs blew a 60-foot-deep crater in a residential neighborhood that is not under coalition control, refueling speculation about the possible death of Saddam Hussein. British intelligence officials said that they believed Saddam left the targeted building just minutes before it was destroyed, and that he probably survived the attack.
United States Green Berets and Kurdish fighters enter the city of Kirkuk in Iraq with little resistance. Turkey and U.S., in separate statements, say they will not allow the Kurds to occupy the city.,
British Airways and Air France simultaneously announce that they will retire the supersonic Concorde aircraft. Passenger numbers had never recovered following a crash that killed 113 in 2000. In response, Sir Richard Branson offers to buy British Airways' Concordes for £1 for the use of his Virgin Atlantic Airlines. BA dismisses the offer as a stunt and indicates that the planes will go to air museums.
A fire destroys a boarding school for the deaf in Makhachkala, Russia, killing 28 children, aged eight to 14. About 100 other children suffer burns and smoke inhalation, 39 of which are in serious condition.
The northern Iraqi city of Mosul falls to coalition forces as the Iraqi army's fifth Corps offers a letter of surrender. The only remaining major city left to fall is Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, where some expect the remaining regime loyalists to make their final stand.
Europe's largest civil engineering project, and the world's largest single metro expansion project, is officially opened in Madrid. MetroSur, a 40-kilometre loop of the Madrid Metro in the southern suburbs of the city, took under three years to complete.
A Bush administration official announces that the United States, People's Republic of China, and North Korea will meet in Beijing from April 23 to April 24 to discuss North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons program. The United States had refused bilateral discussions with North Korea since October 2002, insisting on multinational talks. The United States will be represented by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly.
Save the Children announces that U.S. forces continue to prevent their airplane from landing in Arbil, Iraq to deliver medical supplies and emergency feeding kits. U.S. officials contend that the area is not yet safe, while the United Nations has already declared Arbil a "safe and secure" area.
DNA testing proved that the bodies found on the shores of San Francisco Bay were those of the missing Laci Peterson and her unborn son. Peterson's husband, Scott, was arrested in La Jolla, California, and returned to their home town of Modesto, California, for trial.
A bench clearing brawl happens in a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the St. Louis Cardinals. Tino Martinez was hit by a 1–0 pitch from Miguel Batista, and took first base. He was then forced out at second base during the next batter's at-bat. When heading back to the dugout, Martinez charged Batista from behind. Batista turned and threw the ball at him, and players from both teams joined the altercation. The Diamondbacks ultimately won the game, 1–0, and the MLB suspends Martinez for four games, and Batista for ten.
In the Red Lion Area Junior High School cafeteria (Red Lion, Pennsylvania), eighth-grader James Sheets, carrying multiple weapons, fatally shoots the principal, Eugene Segro, and then fatally shoots himself. Two years earlier, the same school district was the site of a machete attack that injured another principal, two teachers and 11 pupils.
Unknown assailants fire incendiary devices on an ammunition dump in suburban Baghdad, triggering hours of explosions. American sources put the casualties at six dead and four wounded; Iraqi sources state 25 wounded. U.S Army 3rd Infantry Division the 11th Engineer Battalion Charlie Co. ASP(Ammo Security Point)89 tons of confiscated munitions exploded after an enemy attack.
Winnie Mandela is sentenced to four years in prison (five years, less one-year suspended) for theft and fraud.
Hiker and mountain climber Aron Ralston is stuck for five days in Blue John Canyon after an 800-pound rock falls on his right arm, pinning it to the canyon wall.
At Falluja, 50 km from Baghdad, American soldiers from the 82nd Airborne opened fire on a group of protesters, killing between six and 17 and leaving others injured. The incident occurred during a demonstration outside a local school were American forces were stationed. The day before two soldiers were wounded in Ramadi when a hand grenade was thrown from a crowd. Different variasions of the incident exist. two days later on April 30, 2003, another shooting incident occurred in which three people died. After the incidents relations with the populus of Falluja soured, and tensions would continue to build until the November 2004 Battle of Falluja.