At Remote Farmhouse Near Tikrit, Iraq
Troops from the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team captured former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein without incident Dec. 13. Saddam was found hiding in a storehouse at a remote farmhouse near Tikrit, Iraq.
"We got him." U.S. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer II announced officially in Baghdad, Iraq, at about 7 a.m. Eastern Standard time this morning. "Saddam Hussein was captured Saturday, Dec. 13th, at about 8:30 p.m. local time, in a cellar in the town of Adwar, which is about 15 kilometers south of Tikrit." Saddam was in a specially prepared "spider hole" in a house which was six to eight feet deep, with enough space to lie down, camouflaged with bricks and dirt and supplied with an air vent to allow long periods inside, said Lt Col. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq.
A U.S. defense official said Saddam admitted his identity when captured.
Sanchez, who saw Saddam overnight, said the deposed leader "has been cooperative and is talkative." He described Saddam as "a tired man, a man resigned to his fate."
Eager to give Iraqis evidence that the elusive former dictator had indeed been captured, Sanchez played a video at the news conference showing the 66-year-old Saddam in custody. Saddam, with a thick, graying beard and bushy, disheveled hair, was seen as doctor examined him, holding his mouth open with a tongue depressor, apparently to get a DNA sample. Saddam touched his beard during the exam. Then the video showed a picture of Saddam after he was shaved, juxtaposed for comparison with an old photo of the Iraqi leader while in power.
"This success brings closure to the Iraqi people," Sanchez said.
"Saddam Hussein will never return to a position of power from which he can punish, terrorize, intimidate and exploit the Iraqi people as the did for more than 35 years."
Ahmad Chalabi, a member of Iraq's Governing Council, said Sunday that Saddam will be put on trial. "Saddam will stand a public trial so that the Iraqi people will know his crimes,"
"This is a great day in Iraq's history,' Bremer said to the Iraqi people. "For decades, hundreds of thousands of you suffered at the hands of this cruel man. For decades Saddam Hussein divided you citizens against each other. For decades he threatened and attacked your neighbors. Those days are over forever."
Iraqi journalists in the audience stood, pointed and shouted "Death to Saddam!" and "Down with Saddam!"
Though the raid occurred Saturday afternoon American time, U.S. officials went to great length to keep it quiet until medical tests and DNA testing confirmed Saddam's identity.
In his announcement of the
capture U.S. Ambassador Bremer said, "Now it is time to
look to the future - to your future of hope, to a future of reconciliation.
Iraq's future, your future, has never been more full of hope.
Bremer said, "The tyrant is a prisoner."
"With the arrest of Saddam Hussein, there is a new opportunity for the members of the former regime, whether military or civilian to end their bitter opposition. Let them now come forward in a spirit of reconciliation and hope, lay down their arms and join you, their fellow citizens, in the task of building the new Iraq, said Bremer.
Adnan Pachachi, member of Iraq's
U.S.-appointed Governing Council, said Saddam's capture will
bring stability to Iraq. "The state of fear, intelligence
and oppression is gone forever," Pachachi said. "The
Iraqi people are very happy and we look forward to a future of
national reconciliation between Iraqis in order to build the
new and free Iraq, an Iraq of equality."
Source of News & Graphic:
US Department of Defense
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