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Coalition Forces Acted on Intelligence to Launch Raid

BY Admin  December 14, 2003 at 10:04 AM EDT

During a briefing Sunday afternoon, the head of ground forces in Iraq credited the intelligence gathering and analysis for leading to the capture.

“For the last several months, a combination of human-intelligence tips, exceptional intelligence analytical efforts and detainee interrogations narrowed down the activities of Saddam Hussein,” Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said. “This effort led us to conduct this raid last night on this rural farmhouse where we apprehended Saddam.”

Saturday morning, Sanchez said the military obtained so-called “actionable” intelligence that indicated the former Iraqi leader was hiding some 10 miles south of Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit.

According to military officials, intelligence indicated Saddam was at two possible locations near the town of Adwar.

“At about 20:00, coalition forces assaulted the two objectives, but initially did not find the target. As a result, the 1st Brigade Combat Team elected to cordon the area and begin an intensive search,” Sanchez said.

No shots were fired during the initial assault, or during the follow-up search of the farm. While soldiers searched the enclosed farm, they uncovered a so-called “spider hole” hidden by bricks and dirt.

“After uncovering the spider hole, a search was conducted and Saddam Hussein was found hiding at the bottom of the hole,” Sanchez said. “The spider hole is about 6 to 8 feet deep and allows enough space for a person to lie down inside of it.”

According to an American official, Saddam surrendered without putting up a fight and admitted his identity. Troops also detained two other unidentified men.

“At about 21:15 last night, Saddam Hussein was moved to a secure area, and a further search of the hole and surrounding area was conducted. Results from the raid include confiscation of two AK- 47s, a pistol, 750,000 U.S. dollars in $100 denominations, and a white and orange taxi,” Sanchez said.

After being removed from the farm, he was moved to an undisclosed location where he was examined by doctors and questioned by officials, where he has reportedly “been cooperative and is talkative.”

He described Saddam as “a tired man, a man resigned to his fate.”

During the briefing, Sanchez also showed video of Saddam Hussein, with a heavy white beard, being examined by doctors. He also released photos showing Saddam shaved and said he was unharmed.

Sanchez, in addition to praising the work of the soldiers who carried out the operation, also said the assault would be a critical step for the nation of Iraq.

“The capture of Saddam Hussein is a defining moment in the new Iraq,” he said. “I expect that the detention of Saddam Hussein will be regarded as the beginning of reconciliation for the people of Iraq and as a sign of Iraq’s rebirth.”