12/14/2003, 00.00
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Saddam Hussein captured

Baghdad (AsiaNews) -  Saddam Hussein was captured alive in Aghwar near Tikrit, the Iranian press agency, IRNA, reported. The dictator's arrest was confirmed by Paul Bremer and General Ricardo Sanchez at a press conference held in Baghdad.  Bremer, American supervisor of the Provisional Government, said it was "a great day" for Iraq. They then showed a video of his capture.

The arrest occurred on Saturday evening Dec. 13 after a house-by-house sweep was conducted by coalition forces in the dictator's homeland

The former dictator showed no signs of resistance, after being found in a hole dug into the ground under piles of refuse and rubble. Around 600 military personnel participated in the raid. Sanchez said Saddam Hussein was in good condition, had a long beard and was cooperating with authorities. Ahmed Shalabi, member of the Provisional Government, assured Saddam Hussein would receive a fair trial by Iraqi tribunal.

Already this morning Intifad Kanfar, Kurdish spokesman for the Provisional Government, had confirmed the capture. Kanfar also assured that a DNA test proved that the man captured was Saddam Hussein with 100% certainty.

In Kirkuk, people were seen rejoicing in the streets and heard firing celebratory shots in the air. Many correspondents affirmed that now in various cities in Iraq people have come out of their homes to discuss openly Saddam Hussein's capture, while accusing the ex-dictator of many crimes. U.S. authorities said Saddam Hussein's capture would not stop their search for other generals and collaborators of the former regime. Yet the so-called Iraqi resistance perhaps received a mortal blow. 

It remains unknown whether the actual arrest was made by Kurdish, Peshmerga, U.S. troops or by all three. (PB)

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