On Dec. 13, 2003, in the town of ad-Dawr, near Tikrit, Iraq, American military forces carried out Operation Red Dawn, which led to the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, after he spent nine months on the run. The December 2003 operation was named after the 1984 film “Red Dawn.”
Hussein’s downfall began on March 20, 2003, when the United States led the invasion of Iraq, with the mission of toppling Hussein’s government, which had controlled the country for more than 20 years. Hussein was later tried and convicted in Iraq, and eventually executed in 2006 — just three years after his capture.
Below are the top newscasts regarding his capture:
Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, near his hometown of Tikrit. In the video below, archived by The Associated Press, U.S. troops can be heard discovering Hussein’s hiding spot and capturing the Iraqi dictator.
Following Hussein’s capture, U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer walked into a news conference elicited cheers from the room with just six words, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him.”
President George W. Bush addressed the nation the day after Hussein’s arrest, informing Americans of the development and the details surrounding his capture. In the clip, Bush described Hussein’s capture was “crucial to the rise of a free Iraq” and signaled the fall of Hussein’s Ba’ath Party.
Another video shows Iraqis in Kirkuk, located in northern Iraq, celebrating Hussein’s capture. People waved the Kurdish flag, fired guns in the air, and danced in the street at the news. Kirkuk, in particular, was celebratory because Hussein had attempted to drive out the Kurdish people and other ethnic minorities there and replace them with Arabs.
Just days after Hussein’s capture, CBS correspondent Scott Pelley reported from the hideout and retraced the military action that led to Hussein’s capture. In the video, Colonel James Hickey takes Pelley through the scene.