Saddam Hussein Captured

ByABC News
December 14, 2003, 6:35 AM

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 14, 2003 — -- Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been captured near his home town of Tikrit, the U.S. military has confirmed.

Saddam, who ruled Iraq for 23 years until his ouster in April, has been a fugitive since then with a $25 million bounty on his head.

In an address to the nation, President Bush gave the following message to Iraqis: "You do not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again."

He said Saddam's capture will bring sovereignty and dignity to Iraq and the opportunity for a better life. "It is the end of the road for him," he said. "And for the Baathists, there will be no return to privilege in Iraq."

"Iraqis who have chosen the side of freedom, now have won," added President Bush.

"In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over," he said. "A hopeful day has arrived."

Confirmation of Saddam's capture came at a news conference in Baghdad after rumors swirled through the Iraqi capital.

The U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, opened the press conference with the words, "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him."

"This is a great day in Iraq's history," Bremer said. "The tyrant is a prisoner."

Bremer said that Saddam was captured Saturday in a cellar in the town of Ad Dawr, 10 miles from Tikrit.

Sanchez described Saddam's demeanor during the arrest, saying he seemed "a tired man. Also I think a man resigned."

Saddam was in a six-to-eight-foot-deep "spider hole" that had been camouflaged with bricks and dirt. The soldiers saw the hole, investigated and found him inside, armed with a pistol, said Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division that assisted in capturing the leader.

Video played at the press conference showed an air vent and fan inside the hole to allow Saddam to remain hidden for an extended period. There were, however, no communication devices found.

The entrance to the hiding place was a few feet from a small, mud-brick hut where Saddam had been staying.