Timeline of Saddam Hussein's Capture

listenTip from Saddam Allies Led to His Arrest

Photo of Saddam after his arrest.
A U.S. military photo of Saddam Hussein after his capture, issued Dec. 14, 2003.
Credit: Reuters Limited 2003

The hiding place where U.S. officials say Saddam was found.
A U.S. Army video image, released Dec. 14, 2003, of the entrance to an underground hole at a farm near Tikrit where military officials say Saddam Hussein was captured.
Credit: Reuters Limited 2003

President Bush speaks at the White House.
President Bush speaks at the White House about Saddam's capture, Dec. 14, 2003.
Credit: Reuters Limited 2003

Dec. 15, 2003 -- Following is a chronology of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's capture by U.S. forces, Saturday, Dec. 13, according to U.S. military officials and NPR reports. All events are Baghdad time, unless otherwise noted:

10:50 a.m. Saturday: U.S. military officials receive information from a family with close personal ties to Saddam Hussein that he may be hiding in one of two locations near the town of Adwar, about 10 miles south of his hometown of Tikrit. About 600 soldiers from the First Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division along with coalition Special Forces units are assigned to kill or capture Saddam.

About 6 p.m. Saturday: Under cover of darkness, the forces quickly begin moving toward the suspected hiding place.

About 8 p.m. Saturday: Coalition forces raid the two sites, but initially fail to find Saddam. They cordon the area and begin an intensive search. In the next few minutes, forces find a suspicious location near one of the target sites. Within a walled compound, a "spider hole" is detected, its entrance covered by Styrofoam and a carpet.

8:30 p.m. Saturday: Saddam is found hiding at the bottom of the hole, which was about six to eight feet deep and wide enough space for a person to lie down inside. Saddam, described by U.S. commanders as bewildered and disoriented, is captured without resistance.

About 9:15 p.m. Saturday: Saddam is moved to a secure area. During a further search of the hole and surrounding area, two other Iraqis "affiliated" with Saddam are also detained. Forces also find $750,000 in $100 bills. Saddam, under coalition custody, is moved to an undisclosed location.

Saturday Afternoon, ET: President Bush is notified of the capture, but Saddam's identity had not yet been verified.

Early Sunday Morning, ET: Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, calls President Bush, confirming that the captured man was Saddam.

About 7 a.m. Sunday, ET: At a Baghdad news conference, Bremer announces: "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him."

12:15 p.m. Sunday, ET: In a speech from the White House, President Bush tells Iraqis: "You will never have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again."

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Web Resources

  • Defense Department Briefings on Saddam's Capture