Saddam Hussein has been captured alive near his hometown in Iraq. Paul Bremer,
the head of the coalition authority, made the official announcement at a briefing
in U.S. custody
Courtesy: U.S. Department of Defense
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," he announced to reporters. Mr. Bremer
said America's number one fugitive in Iraq is now in the custody of coalition
The commander of American troops in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez,
says the Army's Fourth Armored Division and coalition special forces caught
Saddam Hussein late Saturday. General Sanchez says they found him on a farm
near the town of ad-Dawr, about 15 kilometers south of Saddam's hometown of
General Sanchez says he has seen Saddam in person since his capture, and
he says the deposed Iraqi leader is healthy, but tired. "There were no injuries,
and in fact not a single shot was fired. Saddam Hussein, the captive, has been
talkative and is being cooperative," he said.
General Sanchez said the most wanted man in Iraq was hiding in what he called
a "spider hole" dug into the ground beneath a mud hut. It was about two meters
deep, with just enough room for Saddam to lie down at the bottom, and the entrance
was camouflaged with bricks and dirt. "After uncovering the spider hole, a
search was conducted, and Saddam Hussein was found hiding at the bottom of
the hole," he said.
The general would not say where the troops got the information that led them
to Saddam's location. He simply says it was a combination of intelligence,
what he called "exceptional analysis," and the interrogations of prisoners
close to the former government.
Speaking to the Iraqi people, Ambassador Bremer called it a great day in
Iraqi history. "Now is the time to look to the future, to your future of hope,
to a future of reconciliation," said Mr. Bremer. "Iraq's future, your future,
has never been more full of hope. The tyrant is a prisoner."
Many members of the Iraqi governing council are out of the country on a visit
to Spain. But council member Adnan al-Pachachi welcomed the news of Saddam's
"Warmest congratulations to the people of Iraq on this historic day. The
days of fear and oppression are gone forever," he said.
In Baghdad, celebrations began even before the announcement was made, after
rumors got out that Saddam had been captured. Automatic gunfire could be heard
ringing out all over the city, as residents shot their weapons in the air in
a traditional Iraqi way of showing of emotion. More than a hundred people gathered
outside the Communist Party headquarters, many of them waving red flags in
Several Iraqi journalists attending the press conference were overcome with
emotion when they saw photographs and videotape of Saddam, wearing a long gray
beard, being examined by a U.S. military doctor. They jumped from their seats
and began shouting "convict him." One man collapsed in tears.
Mr. Pachachi and other governing council members expect the coalition to
turn Saddam over to them for trial at a special tribunal that they are setting
up to try members of the former regime for crimes against humanity.
But the fallen dictator's immediate future is not at all clear. Ambassador
Bremer and General Sanchez say the coalition is still deciding exactly what
to do with Saddam now. For the moment, he remains in U.S. custody at an undisclosed
location somewhere in Iraq.