Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has possibly been captured in a raid near his hometown of Tikrit, U.S. officials say. However, the officials told CNN on Sunday that the identity of the individual, who was one of a number of wanted Iraqis caught, was still being confirmed.
Hours after the word leaked out on the possible capture, there were volleys of what was perceived to be celebratory gunfire in Baghdad.
A coalition news conference in Baghdad, scheduled for 3 p.m (1200 GMT), is expected to shed more light on the status of the Iraqi leader.
A briefing in Madrid by the Iraqi Governing Council president and Spanish foreign minister was also expected shortly.
The raid was based on intelligence that Saddam was at a particular location in the area, the officials said.
Video following that raid -- exclusively shot by CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh -- showed a group of U.S.-led coalition soldiers patting each other on the back -- apparently in celebration -- and taking group photos in front of a military vehicle.
The 66-year-old longtime Iraqi leader was number one on the coalition's 55 most wanted list, and his evasion has been a political sore spot for the U.S. administration.
The Iraq war began on March 19 when U.S. forces launched a "decapitation attack" aimed at the Iraqi president and other top members of the country's leadership.
Hours later, a defiant Saddam wearing a military uniform appeared on Iraqi television to denounce the U.S.-led military campaign as "criminal" and to say his countrymen would be victorious.
At least a dozen audiotapes believed to have been recorded by Saddam, 66, have been released since he was forced out of power by the coalition forces during the Iraq war. The most recent was broadcast in November.
His sons Uday and Qusay -- also on the coalition's most wanted list -- were killed in July, after U.S. forces stormed their hideout in Mosul.
Initial hopes that their father would soon be found faded in the months following that raid.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, has been dogged by reporters wanting to know the status of the search for Saddam.
"It is difficult to find him," Sanchez said, at a press briefing earlier this month. "Given that I haven't found him killed him or captured him, and I need the Iraqi people's help, and together we will find him, we will capture him, we will kill him."
The announcement comes on the same day that 20 people were killed and 32 wounded by a car bomb outside an Iraqi police station west of Baghdad, an Iraqi police officer told CNN.