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Saddam Hussein Reported Captured in Tikrit - 2003-12-14

News reports in Iraq say former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been arrested in his hometown, Tikrit.

The ousted leader is said to have been taken into custody during an overnight raid carried out by the U.S. military in Tikrit, located north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Reports also say that Kurdish fighters participated in the Tikrit raid.

Tikrit has been a hotbed of opposition to U.S.-led coalition forces. Rumors have circulated in the country that Saddam had been directing the resistance effort from his home town.

News reports quote several members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council as saying Saddam's capture was confirmed by the U-S administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer.

Journalists in the Iraqi capital say the city is filled with the sound of gunshots, apparently fired to celebrate the news about Saddam.

American military officials in Baghdad and at the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department outside Washington, have not commented on Saddam's whereabouts, but correspondents in Baghdad say American officials have called them to a news conference due to begin at 3:00 p.m. local time (1200 UTC).

Associated Press quotes an American military spokeswoman as saying a "very important" announcement will be made.

Saddam Hussein disappeared from public view at the start of the Iraq war in March. Rumors about his death or capture have surfaced periodically since then.