U.S. special forces capture Saddam

Many 'loyalists' now out of work

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

BAGHDAD U.S. officials announced that Saddam Hussein has been captured by U.S. military forces in a hideout outside the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

The officials said they did not expect the capture to immediately halt the Sunni insurgency against U.S. and coalition forces. But as one U.S. military intelligence source said, many operatives, or "loyalists" who had been on on Saddam's payroll yesterday are out of work today.

A bearded Saddam Hussein just following his capture Reuters

U.S. officials said the military received information on Saturday morning that suggested that Saddam would be either in two locations at a town 15 kilometers from Tikrit.

They said Saddam was captured in the cellar of a farm house outside his stronghold of Tikrit on Saturday 8:30 p.m., local time, Middle East Newsline reported.

The dictator was dug out by U.S. troops from a narrow, man-szied hiding hole during a raid on a farm late Saturday, the U.S. commander in Iraq told a news conference Sunday. The farm is outside Ad Dawr, just south of Tikrit.

Officials said special operations forces of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division captured Saddam, capping an effort that included several months of intelligence as well as electronics and aerial reconnaissance.

Amid scenes of undisguised jubilation at U.S. headquarters in Baghdad, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez played a video of the 66-year-old ousted leader, in a heavy black and gray beard, undergoing a medical examination that appeared to include the taking of saliva swabs for DNA testing, Reuters reported. Sanchez also showed a still photograph, apparently taken later, of a shaven Saddam.

The soldiers tracked the fugitive to a narrow pit, some six to eight feet deep, Sanchez said. "There were no injuries. Not a single shot was fired," said Sanchez, adding that Saddam seemed "tired and resigned."

"Ladies and gentlemen, we got 'em," Coalition Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer told a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday. "The tyrant is a prisoner."

Saddam did not resist capture and nobody was injured in the U.S. military operation.

"He was a tired man and a man resigned to his fate," Bremer said.

At the news conference, Saddam, sporting an unkempt beard, was shown in a video being examined by a physician. He was also shown after his beard had been removed.

Officials said they did not know when Saddam would be placed on trial.

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