Family of missing marine says he is freed

July 6, 2004 at 9:24 AM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 6 (UPI) -- The family of a U.S. Marine captured in Iraq said Tuesday their son is alive and has been freed by his suspected Muslim extremist captors.

Sami Hassoun, the brother of U.S. Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun, told UPI in a telephone interview: "We have received strong signals he has become free and he is alive."

Hassoun refused to elaborate on the "signal" or on how he got the information about the fate of his brother who was kidnapped in Fallujah last month.

An Iraqi group calling itself Islamic Response, the security wing of the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, said in a fax reported Monday on al-Jazeera television the Marine "has been sent to a safe place after he had announced his repentance and his determination not to go back to the U.S. forces."

The group said its members had treated Hassoun well.

There was no independent verification of any of the claims, and there have been conflicting reports on the Marine's fate.

Hassoun, a Lebanese-American whose family lives in north Lebanon, had earlier been reported killed.

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