Ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been arrested in Iraq, according to unconfirmed reports.
He was detained in his ancestral home town of Tikrit, Iraqi Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani said on the official Iranian news agency IRNA.
The US Defence Department said it had no confirmation of the report.
Saddam Hussein is the most wanted man on the list issued by US authorities but has not been seen since Baghdad fell to US forces in April.
A spokeswoman for US-led coalition forces in Baghdad said that a "very important" announcement would be made at a news conference at 1200 GMT but would not give further details.
Nazem Dabag, representative in Iran of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) also said that Saddam Hussein had been arrested.
Saddam Hussein has been the subject of intensive searches by US-led forces in Iraq but previous attempts to locate him have proved unsuccessful.
On 22 July his sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a raid by US forces in the northern city of Mosul.
I am glad to hear the news.
On Fox News you could hear an eruption of celebratory gunfire in the back round. This is geat.
PS Thank you for your service. We all all very proud of you!
Fox News reporting DNA test results confirm it is Saddam. Yes!
Add that news to this news, and we have total depression amongst our home grown Jihadist Traitors, the Rats" http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1040032/posts
Does this link Saddam to 9/11?
The Daily Telegraph ^ | 14/12/2003 | Con Coughlin
Posted on 12/14/2003 1:59:15 AM PST by ScaniaBoy
A document discovered by Iraq's interim government details a meeting between the man behind the September 11 attacks and Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terrorist, at his Baghdad training camp. Con Coughlin reports.
For anyone attempting to find evidence to justify the war in Iraq, the discovery of a document that directly links Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks, with the Baghdad training camp of Abu Nidal, the infamous Palestinian terrorist, appears almost too good to be true.
Ever since four hijacked civilian jets devastated the United States' eastern seaboard on September 11, 2001, there have been any number of reports circulating Western intelligence agencies suggesting that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had close links to al-Qaeda.
Most of the claims relate to meetings between al-Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence to discuss co-operation on matters such as funding, training and equipment.
Prior to the discovery of the document published today by the Telegraph, the most controversial report related to the suggestion that Atta had met Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, in Prague in April 2001.
But while both President Bush and Tony Blair have dropped numerous hints that they believe there was a significant level of co-operation between Saddam and al-Qaeda, their respective intelligence agencies have actively sought to downplay the significance of the relationship, especially the suggestion that Saddam was in any way involved in the September 11 attacks.
To this end America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with the backing of Britain's MI6, have poured scorn on Atta's Prague meeting.
However, the tantalising detail provided in the intelligence document uncovered by Iraq's interim government suggests that Atta's involvement with Iraqi intelligence may well have been far deeper than has hitherto been acknowledged.
Written in the neat, precise hand of Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) and one of the few named in the US government's pack of cards of most-wanted Iraqis not to have been apprehended, the personal memo to Saddam is signed by Habbush in distinctive green ink.
Headed simply "Intelligence Items", and dated July 1, 2001, it is addressed: "To the President of the Ba'ath Revolution Party and President of the Republic, may God protect you."
The first paragraph states that "Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer (an Arabic nom-de-guerre - his real identity is unknown) and we hosted him in Abu Nidal's house at al-Dora under our direct supervision.
"We arranged a work programme for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him . . . He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy."
There is nothing in the document that provides any clue to the identity of the "targets", although Iraqi officials say it is a coded reference to the September 11 attacks.
The second item contains a report of how Iraqi intelligence, helped by "a small team from the al-Qaeda organisation", arranged for an (unspecified) shipment from Niger to reach Baghdad by way of Libya and Syria.
Iraqi officials believe this is a reference to the controversial shipments of uranium ore Iraq acquired from Niger to aid Saddam in his efforts to develop an atom bomb, although there is no explicit reference in the document to this.
Habbush writes that the successful completion of the shipment was "the fruit of your excellent secret meeting with Bashir al-Asad (the Syrian president) on the Iraqi-Syrian border", and concludes: "May God protect you and save you to all Arab nations."
While it is almost impossible to ascertain whether or not the document is legitimate or a clever fake, Iraqi officials working for the interim government are convinced of its authenticity, even though they decline to reveal where and how they obtained it. "It is not important how we found it," said a senior Iraqi security official. "The important thing is that we did find it and the information it contains."
A leading member of Iraq's governing council, who asked not to be named, said he was convinced of the document's authenticity.
"There are people who are working with us who used to work with Habbush who are convinced that it is his handwriting and signature. We are uncovering evidence all the time of Saddam's dealings with al-Qaeda, and this document shows the extent of the old regime's involvement with the international terrorist network."
This is the second document published by this newspaper that appears to highlight Saddam's links with al-Qaeda. Earlier this year the Telegraph published details of another Iraqi intelligence document that indicated Saddam's regime was attempting to set up a meeting with Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, who was then based in Sudan.
Intelligence experts point out that a memo such as that written by Habbush would of necessity be vague and short. "Trained intelligence officers hate putting anything down in writing," said one former CIA officer. "You never know where it might turn up."
Certainly the memo's detail concerning Mohammed Atta and Abu Nidal fits in with the known movements of the two terrorists in the summer of 2001. Abu Nidal, the renegade Palestinian terrorist responsible for a wave of outrages in the 1980s, such as the 1985 bomb attacks on Rome and Vienna airports, was based in Baghdad, under Saddam's personal protection, for most of his career.
Having briefly relocated to Libya, Abu Nidal returned to Baghdad at some point in early 2001. At the time it was assumed that Saddam had lured the Palestinian terrorist back to help the Iraqi leader plan a number of terrorist attacks aimed at destabilising American plans to remove him.
In particular, Saddam wanted Abu Nidal to revive his network of "sleeper cells" in Europe and the Middle East to carry out a new wave of attacks. During 2001 Abu Nidal lived in a number of houses in the Baghdad area, including a spacious home in the al-Dora district where he is reported to have met Atta.
The relationship between Abu Nidal and Saddam, however, quickly turned sour, mainly because - as the Telegraph reported at the time - the ageing Palestinian leader was reluctant to accede to Saddam's request to train al-Qaeda fighters in sophisticated terrorist techniques.
Abu Nidal was murdered in August 2001, although the Iraqis tried to claim that he had committed suicide. Habbush appeared at a hastily arranged press conference in Baghdad in an attempt to persuade the sceptical Arab media that Abu Nidal had taken his own life after Iraqi investigators had uncovered a plot to assassinate Saddam.
Although Western intelligence agencies have attempted to trace Atta's movements in the months preceding September 11, there remain several periods during which his precise whereabouts are unknown. Having moved to Florida from Hamburg in 2000, Atta is known to have made at least two trips from the US to Europe in 2001.
In early January he flew to Madrid for a few days. His next confirmed trip was to Zurich in early July. In between, American investigators have concluded from a detailed examination of Atta's credit cards and phone records, that he spent most of the spring and early summer of 2001 in Florida, interspersed by occasional domestic trips. The only confirmed sighting of Atta during this period, however, was on April 26 when he was pulled over for a traffic violation in Florida.
This traffic offence, taken with other evidence collated by FBI agents, is one of the reasons that CIA officials have discounted the report that Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague earlier in the month (the Czech authorities claim Atta was in Prague on April 8). Yesterday the New York Times reported that Ani, who was taken into US custody last July, had told American interrogators that he had not met Atta in Prague.
"The Prague meeting does not appear very convincing," said Lorenzo Vidino, a terrorism analyst at The Investigative Project, a non-profit organisation that investigates international terrorism, in Washington. "But even if that meeting did not take place you have to remember that Atta used a large number of aliases when he travelled. It is not inconceivable that Atta slipped out of the US undetected sometime in the first half of 2001."
The US Congressional report into the September 11 attacks states that Atta used 16 to 17 known aliases, although American intelligence experts concede that there may have been others.
It is entirely conceivable, then, that Atta secretly made his way to Baghdad to undertake training with Abu Nidal a few months before the September 11 attacks. But as long as Saddam and his senior intelligence operatives remain at large, it is impossible to assess just how much they knew about, and were involved in, the planning and execution of the September 11 atrocities.
Con Coughlin is the author of Saddam: The Secret Life (Macmillan)
YES!!! Thank God! And thank you, US and Coalition Military.
Clinton News Network showing the boys in the 4th ID lighting up cigars.. LOL (no I wasn't me watching it was my other half)
Iran's official news agency says Saddam has been detained in Iraq
By Associated Press,
The Boston Globe
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been detained in Iraq, Iran's official news agency reported Sunday.
''Saddam Hussein was arrested in his hometown of Tikrit,'' IRNA quoted top Iraqi leader, Jalal Talabani as saying. It gave no further details.
Nazem Dabbagh, a representative of Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdestan, confirmed Talabani's statement when reached by phone Sunday by an Associated Press reporter in Tehran.
In Iraq, a separate rumor that Saddam was captured or killed near Tikrit sent hundreds of exultant people into the streets of this northern Iraqi city Sunday. They fired in the air in celebration and congratulated each other.
A spokeswoman for the U.S.-led occupation in Baghdad notified reporters that a ''very important'' announcement will be made at a news conference scheduled for 7 a.m. EST, but did not say who would be the speaker. The spokeswoman requested anonymity.
In Tikrit, rumors that the former dictator was in custody were making the rounds, but reporters attached to the 4th Infantry Division, the U.S. unit in charge of security in the area, said there was no unusual activity there overnight or early Sunday.
''We are celebrating like it's a wedding,'' said Mustapha Sheriff, a resident of Kirkuk. ''We are finally rid of that criminal.''
''This is the joy of a lifetime,'' said Ali Al-Bashiri, another Kirkuk resident. ''I am speaking on behalf of all the people that suffered under his rule.''
Saddam, who ruled Iraq for 23 years until his ouster in April, has been a fugitive since then with a $25 million bounty on his head.
Rumors about Saddam's capture or death periodically surface, and a hotline set up by the occupation authorities for tips on his whereabouts is flooded with callers. http://www.boston.com/dailynews/348/world/Iran_s_official_news_agency_sa:.shtml
Paging Col. West!!!