BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – American forces captured a bearded Saddam Hussein as he hid in the cellar of a farmhouse near his hometown of Tikrit, ending one of the most intensive manhunts in history. The arrest, eight months after the fall of Baghdad, was carried out without a shot fired and was a huge victory for U.S. forces.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we got him,” U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer told a news conference. “The tyrant is a prisoner.”
Saddam was captured Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in a specially prepared “spider hole” in the cellar in the town of Adwar, 10 miles from Tikrit, Lt Col. Ricardo Sanchez said. The hole was six to eight feet deep, camouflaged with bricks and dirt and supplied with an air vent to allow long periods inside.
In the capital, radio stations played celebratory music, residents fired small arms in the air and others drove through the streets, shouting, “They got Saddam! They got Saddam!”