A U.S. military spokesman in the Gulf said Saddam Hussein's government is no longer in control of Baghdad and that ordinary Iraqis have begun to realize that the end of his rule is near.

Brigadier General Vince Brooks, the Central Command spokesman, told reporters Wednesday that Baghdad has now been added to the list of areas in Iraq where Saddam Hussein's government does not have control.

He made the remark as jubilant crowds swarmed into the streets of the Iraqi capital, dancing, looting and defacing images of Saddam Hussein.

General Brooks said Iraqis are realizing that the era of Saddam Hussein is over. "I think we are at a degree of a tipping point where, for the population, there is a broader recognition that this regime is coming to an end and will not return in a way that it has been in the past," he said.

But General Brooks cautioned that there is still fighting to be done in the days ahead. He said the Saddam Hussein regime structure has not yet entirely collapsed and that the Iraqi leader's loyalists still have some fighting capability.