(CNN) – 2016 started with the end of life on the run for notorious Mexican drug boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. He was captured 6 months after escaping prison through an underground tunnel. In a stranger-than-fiction twist, investigators tracked him down after a meeting with a Mexican actress and American movie star Sean Penn.
The battle to take back control of Iraq from ISIS raged on in 2016. Iraqi forces recaptured the city of Falluja and battled for control of the last ISIS stronghold, Mosul. A CNN crew was trapped inside that fierce fighting for 28 hours.
Elsewhere, ISIS continued to carry out stunning attacks, including three explosions in Belgium that killed 35 people in March.
Two suicide bombs ripped through the Brussels airport.
“We saw doors flying, blasts, ceilings coming down.” While another bomb was detonated on a Brussels metro train.
Terror struck the resort city of Nice in July when a man drove a 20-ton truck through crowds of people gathered to celebrate France’s Bastille Day holiday. 86 people were killed. The attacker, who was killed at the scene, was said to have been radicalized by ISIS.
A photo of a young boy covered in blood and dust is a heartbreaking image of the war in Syria that raged on in 2016. He was pulled from the rubble of his bombed-out home in Aleppo.
Thousands of people have been killed in the northern Syrian city during years of civil war. Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict further strained relations between the kremlin and the white house.
The Obama administration blames Russia for hacking U.S. political groups. Now the world is eager to see if President-elect Donald Trump will try to mend ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to helping India’s poor, was declared a saint in September by Pope Francis as a huge crowd gathered in St. Peter’s square.
Massive crowds descended on Rio de Janeiro in August for the summer Olympics. Despite crime and health concerns, some athletes and tourists stayed home because of Zika. The mosquito-borne illness that causes birth defects and other neurological problems.
However, none of it overshadowed the games as American swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt shattered more records. Simone Biles and the final five American gymnasts became worldwide sensations.
In a wave of nationalism, the U.K. voted in June to leave the European Union. The ‘Brexit’ as it’s called is expected to officially begin next year amid economic concerns for Europe.
Meanwhile, Britain’s past and future were honored on the Queen’s 90th birthday by a new line of stamps with a portrait of the country’s longest-ever serving monarch, her son, grandson and great-grandson.