Dec. 14, 2003: “Ladies and gentlemen, we got him,” U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, told a news conference announcing the capture of Saddam Hussein. “The tyrant is a prisoner.”
Saddam was found by forces from the 4th Infantry Division along with Special Forces in the raid, called “Operation Red Dawn.” He was hiding in a specially prepared “spider hole” in the cellar in the town of Adwar, 10 miles from Tikrit. The hole was six to eight feet deep, camouflaged with bricks and dirt and supplied with an air vent to allow long periods inside. The former Iraqi president had $750,000 in cash on him.
Although he was armed with a pistol, Saddam didn’t fire his weapon. “There was no way he could fight back so he was just caught like a rat,” Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said. He added, “The intimidation and fear this man generated for 30 years are gone … [but] our work here still continues.”
In the Baghdad, 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!”
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