‘Don’t shoot, I’m Saddam Hussein’ – dictator shouted while dragged out of hole

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein shouted and pleaded for US soldiers not to kill him as he was captured following the dramatic conclusion to an eight-month manhunt.

Hussein served as the fifth president of Iraq for a whopping 24 years, from 1979 until he was deposed by a US-led coalition in 2003.

When Iraqi capital Baghdad fell to US forces in April 2003, the dictator was nowhere to be found, sparking one of the most intense manhunts in history before he was finally captured months later.

Hussein was the most wanted man in the world for that eight-month period before finally, in December 2003, the Americans received a tip off that the tyrant was somewhere near his birthplace of Tikrit, 85 miles from Baghdad.

The information led them to a farm and this is where on December 13, Operation Red Dawn came to an end after a soldier lifted up a blanket to reveal a small hole in the ground.

The six to eight-feet deep bunker was just big enough for a person to lie down and a pipe had been installed to let air inside.

That was where the evil dictator was hiding, with a US soldier proclaiming: “Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.”

As the dictator crawled out of his hiding place looking unrecognisable, he shouted at the soldiers who found him: “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, I am Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq and I am willing to negotiate.”

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One of the US soldiers simply replied: “President Bush sends regards”.

Hussein had ruled Iraq with an iron fist for decades and had inflicted countless acts of brutality on his own people.

He disappeared after a coalition of forces including the USA and UK invaded in a bid to "disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction".

“Saddam gone! Saddam gone!” was the chant throughout the country before his statue came crashing down.

A US armoured recovery vehicle smashed the marble staircase leading to Saddam’s statue in Baghdad’s Firdoz Ali-Baba Square.

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A soldier then climbed on top of the machine’s giant jib and attached a chain to the statue’s throat before smothering the face with an American flag.

He would go on to replace it with an Iraqi flag, winding it round the statue’s throat, before the statue was pulled down to huge cheers.

Locals then began smashing the concrete head and dragged it down the street.

During his reign, the tyrant expelled 40,000 Shi'ite Muslims and launched an air attack against Iran, which led to a war between the two nations, claiming the lives of approximately one million people.

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He also ordered the destruction of Dujail, a village in northern Iraq, leading to the deaths of more than 140 people.

In the same year, more than 5,000 people were killed when he ordered a poison gas attack on Kurds in Halabja in northern Iraq.

In November 2006, an Iraqi court found Saddam guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to death by hanging.

He was executed in Baghdad on December 30, 2006, aged 69.

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