Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Sunday, December 14, 2003

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein arrested

The United States officially confirmed on Sunday that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was arrested near his hometown of Tikrit more than eight months after the Saddam regim was toppled.


Saddam Hussein caught alive
The United States officially confirmed on Sunday that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was arrested near his hometown of Tikrit more than eight months after the Saddam regim was toppled.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," US civil administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer told a press conference. "The tyrant is a prisoner," Bremer said.

Bremer said that Saddam was captured Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) in a cellar in the town of Adwar, 10 miles from Tikrit, ending one of the most intense manhunts in history.

The US forces also showed video of captured Saddam, who was wearing a beard and undergoing a medical examination. Saddam is "in good health" and without injuries, a US spokesman told reporters.

US: Saddam captured alive in Tikrit
The former Iraqi president had 750,000 US dollars in cash on him, the spokesman said.

Saddam was being held at an undisclosed location and that US authorities had not yet determined whether to hand him over to the Iraqis for trial, said Lt. Gen. Richardo Sanchez.

Forces from the 4th Infantry Division along with Special Forces captured Saddam, the US military said. There were no shots fired or injuries in the raid, called "Operation Red Dawn," said Sanchez.

In Baghdad, Iraqis celebrated the capture of the former leader Saddam Hussein with gunfire while the fate of Saddam is not definitely known yet.

Continuous gunshots were heard over the neighborhoods as reports poured into the city early in the day that Saddam may have been caught after the US-led coalition forces launched an overnight operation in his hometown of Tikrit, 170 km north of Baghdad.

Saddam's capture was firstly reported by Iran's official news agency IRNA, which on Sunday morning quoted Iraqi Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as saying that "Saddam Hussein was arrested in his hometown of Tikrit."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed Saddam's capture. "This is very good news for the people of Iraq. It removes the shadow that has been hanging over them for too long of the nightmare of a return to the Saddam regime," he said in a statement released by his office.

After invading Iraq on March 20 and setting up their headquarters in Saddam's sprawling Republican Palace compound in Baghdad, US troops launched a massive manhunt for the fugitive leader, placing a $25 million bounty on his head and sending thousands of soldiers to search for him.

Saddam's sons Qusai and Odai -- each with a $15 million bounty on their heads -- were killed July 22 in a four-hour gunbattle with US troops in a hideout in the northern city of Mosul. The bounties were paid out to the man who owned the house where they were killed, residents said.

Backgrounder: Tikrit and Saddam Hussein
Tikrit is located in Saladdin province on the west bank of the Tigris river, 180 kilometers northwest of Baghdad. As it lies on the way to the northern city of Mosul and Kirkuk, the town, with a population of 50,000, is of strategic significance and defended bythe Adnan Republican Guard division during the Iraq war earlier this year.

Saddam was born in Awja, a village close to Tikrit, on April 28,1937. Since he assumed presidency in 1979, a great number of Tikrit people took leading positions in the government and military forces, and Tikrit, a small farming and trading town at the time of Saddam's birth, also saw unprecedented development.

Tikrit is home to one of his presidential palaces which covers an area of 7.8 square kilometers. A labyrinth of underground channels are said to have been built there for Saddam's convenience.

Every year, birthday celebrations and a military parade will beheld there for Saddam on a magnificent square. The parking lot of the square can house thousands of vehicles.

Well-equipped hospitals, schools and universities were also built there. The most famous is the Tikrit University, which has been repeatedly inspected by UN weapons inspectors before the Saddam regime was toppled.

Major events in Iraq since ouster of Saddam
March 20 -- US launches war against Iraq with selective strikeson Baghdad targeting "very senior" leadership;

April 9 -- US forces storm into Baghdad, ending Saddam Hussein's 24-year rule;

May 1 -- US President George W. Bush declares an end to the major military campaign in Iraq;

May 6 -- Bush names Paul Bremer as the US civil administrator in Iraq;

July 13 -- A 25-member US-backed Iraqi Governing Council holds its inaugural meeting in Baghdad;

July 22 -- US military confirms the killing of Saddam's two sons, Uday and Qusay, in Mosul;

Aug. 19 -- A massive truck bomb devastates the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top UN envoy to Iraq;

Sept. 1 -- The Interim Governing Council appoints 25 ministers to run the day-to-day work of ministries;

Oct. 15 -- Iraq adopts a new currency, banishing the face of Saddam;

Oct. 16 -- The US-drafted Security Council resolution 1511 on Iraq's future is adopted unanimously despite misgivings;

Oct. 24 -- International donors pledge at least 33 billion US dollars in aid and loans over the next four years at a conference in Madrid to raise funds for Iraq's reconstruction;

Dec. 9 -- The United States rules that prime contracts to rebuild Iraq will exclude firms from nations such as France Germany that opposed the war;

Dec. 14 -- US officials announce capture of Saddam.

By People's Daily Online

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