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    Saddam Captured While Hiding in Hole Near Hometown 6 minutes ago Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo! By Robin Pomeroy TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2003
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      Saddam Captured While Hiding in Hole Near Hometown
      6 minutes ago Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!

      By Robin Pomeroy

      TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein (news -
      web sites) near his home town of Tikrit in a major coup for
      Washington's beleaguered occupation force in Iraq (news - web sites).

      Reuters Photo

      Slideshow: Iraq

      Blasts In Baghdad's Green Zone
      (Reuters Video)

      Latest headlines:
      · Bush Got Early Word of Saddam's Capture
      AP - 5 minutes ago
      · Saddam Captured While Hiding in Hole Near Hometown
      Reuters - 6 minutes ago
      · Saddam Hussein Captured Alive Near Tikrit
      AP - 9 minutes ago
      Special Coverage

      Grubby and bearded, apparently exhausted and resigned to his fate,
      the fugitive (news - Y! TV) dictator was dug out by troops from a
      narrow hiding hole during a raid on a farm late Saturday, the U.S.
      commander in Iraq told a news conference Sunday.

      "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," a beaming U.S. administrator Paul
      Bremer said in his first, pithy comments.

      "The tyrant is a prisoner."

      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. Sanchez also showed a still photograph, apparently taken
      later, of a shaven Saddam.

      Across the capital, gunfire crackled in celebration.

      Joy greeted final proof that the man who terrorized his people for 30
      years and led them into three disastrous wars was now behind bars and
      facing trial, even possible execution, at Iraqi hands.

      "There were no injuries. Not a single shot was fired," said Sanchez,
      adding that Saddam seemed "tired and resigned."

      It was a contrast to the end of Saddam's once powerful sons, Uday and
      Qusay, who went down guns blazing against an overwhelming U.S. force
      at a house in Mosul in July.

      Troops acting on a tip-off surrounded the farm outside Ad Dawr, just
      south of Tikrit, the city where Saddam was born into a poor family of
      minority Sunni Muslims. He rose through tribal contacts and a taste
      for ruthless violence to dominate the Arab nationalist Ba'ath party,
      which seized power in a 1968 coup.

      The soldiers finally tracked the fugitive down to the bottom of a
      narrow, man-sized pit, some six to eight feet deep, Sanchez said.


      The arrest is a major boon for President Bush (news - web sites)
      after seven months of increasingly bloody attacks on U.S. forces and
      their allies following Saddam's ousting on April 9.

      His campaign for re-election next year has been overshadowed by
      mounting casualties and wrangling with key allies over Iraq.

      It may break the spirit of some of his diehard supporters and ease
      anxieties of many Iraqis who lived in fear for three decades under a
      man who led them into three disastrous wars.

      U.S. officials will also hope to extract key intelligence on the
      alleged weapons programs which formed the public grounds for Bush to
      go to war in defiance of many U.N. allies. Little evidence of banned
      weapons has been found.

      Saddam had kept up a stream of belligerent rhetoric from hiding, even
      after his sons were killed. Already vexed by its failure to find al
      Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), Washington blamed
      Saddam for promoting some of the violence against its forces and put
      a $25 million price on his head.

      But analysts warned that other groups could go on fighting.

      "This has lifted a shadow from the people of Iraq. Saddam will not be
      returning," British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) said
      in a statement.

      Washington had made Saddam number one -- the "ace of spades" -- on
      its list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis. An informer was paid $30 million
      and given refuge in the United States for turning in Uday and Qusay.


      Saddam would be put on trial, Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad
      Chalabi told Reuters. A tribunal system for Iraqis to try Saddam and
      fellow Baathist leaders was set up only last week.

      "This is good for Iraq. He will be put on trial. Let him face
      justice," Chalabi, who returned after the invasion from years in U.S.
      exile, said in Baghdad.

      A U.S.-led coalition official said last week the Iraqi government to
      be formed by June would be free to re-establish the death penalty,
      although most of the countries supplying experts setting up the
      tribunal do not have it. Saddam made free use of execution, killing
      thousands during his years in power.

      Hours after the arrest, a suspected suicide car bomber killed at
      least 17 people and wounding 33 at an Iraqi police station in the
      restive town of Khalidiyah, west of Baghdad.

      U.S. officials had said Saddam had eluded American troops by moving
      every few hours, probably in disguise and aided by members of his
      clan around Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

      "His arrest will put an end to military and terrorist attacks and the
      Iraqi nation will achieve stability," said Amar al-Hakim, a senior
      member of the Shi'ite political party the Supreme Council for the
      Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

      "We want Saddam to get what he deserves. I believe he will be
      sentenced to hundreds of death sentences at a fair trial because he's
      responsible for all the massacres and crimes in Iraq."

      Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in
      London, warned, however, that there were other anti-American groups
      in Iraq ready to continue attacks.

      "There will be a reduction in operations sponsored by former regime
      loyalists, but this is not the full story because they are not the
      only group involved," he said.

      "For the Americans after the failure to capture Osama bin Laden after
      so many years, it is a propaganda coup...It's an intelligence prize
      because they can get information from him about cells working now.
      And it's a huge victory."

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