Ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein will be executed before 6:00 am (0300 GMT) on Saturday, an Iraqi official close to Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's office said, five hours before this deadline.
"The meeting with the Americans is over," the official said on condition of anonymity. "They decided Saddam will be hanged before 6:00 am."
Judge Moneer Haddad, who has been assigned to witness the execution on behalf of the appeal court which confirmed Saddam's death sentence, also said that the hanging appeared to be imminent.
"I have new news," he said. "Perhaps they will hang in him in two hours. They called me and asked me to come."
Earlier, Iraqi officials in Maliki's entourage had said that they were in talks with American officials about transferring Saddam from US military custody in order to carry out the planned execution.