Sunday, December 14, 2003
Contributed by: Admin
CAIRO, December 14 - Representatives of U.S. occupation authority and the U.S.-installed Governing Council Sunday, December 14 , confirmed the capture of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, during a celebratory news conference aired live by Arab and foreign televisions.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," Paul Bremer - U.S. administrator of the oil-rich Arab country - declared at the start of the news conference, amid loud cheers and applaud from some of the attending reporters, and to the apparent satisfaction of Bremer.
"The tyrant is a prisoner," Bremer said, adding that it was time for Iraqis to look forward to reconciliation.
Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, gave a quick briefing about the mega-weight capture.
"Today is a great day for Iraq and Coalition. At 8 pm local time, Saturday, December13 , a4 th infantry division mounted an operation called Red-Dawn to capture Saddam," he said, adding some 600 soldiers took part in the operation.
The U.S. commander went on to describe how intelligence came in at10 :50 pm, specifying two possible locations where Saddam could have been hiding.
Accordingly, American troops were divided into two teams and moved "under the cover of darkness and lightening speed".
The two locations were in and around the city of Addwar, some 30 kms south of Saddam's northern hometown of Tikrit.
Initially, the two teams failed to find the ousted leader - on the run for over7 months now.
As a result, the U.S. forces cordoned the area and started a thorough search, according to Sanchez.
Accidentally, they spotted a small hub-mud, inside which a spider hole was detected, camouflaged by mud.
Saddam was hiding at the bottom of the hole -6 - 8feet deep.
Sanchez added the arrest came with "no resistance, not even a single shot fired".
Two other unidentified Iraqis were also captured with Saddam who was then removed to a secure area.
Sanchez further said that Saddam was "talkative and cooperative".
When asked to elaborate on that Sanchez said; "He was cooperative, resigned, tired man and also a man resigned to his fate".
The American commander then showed a video clip, filmed by the U.S. forces themselves, where a dusty, tired Saddam was being given a medical examination after his capture.
He was then shown on the video clip after he was shaved. Also, the spider hole he was reportedly captured in was shown.
Then, two snapshots of Saddam - one before and after the capture and another containing a file photo and one after he was shaved.
During the Iraq invasion, U.S. senior officials, topped by President George Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized the Iraqis and Arab news channels for showing U.S. war prisoners on TV, calling it a war crime and threatening to hold Iraqi officials accountable.
Upon the start of the movie clip, the hall of the news conference burst into loud cheers and screams of joy from some reporters attending, shouting anti-Saddam slogans.
"We want to get even (with Saddam)!", "Criminal Saddam!", "Long Live Iraq"…etc.
Acting head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Dr Adnan Pachachi, had to use a handkerchief to wipe his tears (out of joy) while the video clip was on.
"It honors me on behalf of the Governing Council to extend the sincerest congratulations to the Iraqi people on this historic, happy day.
"The state of fear, secret police and oppression has gone forever," said a jubilant Pachachi, a former foreign minister before Saddam came to power.
"I call on the Governing Council to declare this a national holiday," he added.
When asked whether the transfer of power from the U.S.-led occupation authority will now be accelerated after Saddam's capture, Pachachi said: "There will be an independent Iraqi government without oversight from anyone.
"As I said, we are working on the law that will administer Iraq during the transitional period and before the end of June there will be an Iraqi government with complete sovereignty."
Pachachi also said that the Iraqi people will have opportunity to vote on new constitution. "We are at the service of the people of Iraq," he said.
Turks.US - Captured Saddam Talkative, Cooperative: U.S.