Missing Marine returning to U.S.

July 14, 2004 at 3:39 PM

WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- The Marine corporal who went missing in Iraq and turned up in Lebanon is being moved to Marine Base at Quantico, Va., the Marine Corp said Wednesday.

He was scheduled to arrive Wednesday evening but a mechanical problem with his aircraft has pushed his arrival back to Thursday, according to the Marines.

Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, 24, will remain at Quantico until a team of repatriation experts determines he is ready to rejoin his unit, which could take weeks or months, a Marine Corps statement said.

Hassoun disappeared from a Marine base in western Iraq June 20. He was initially listed as a deserter but was changed to "captured" when video appeared of him apparently being held by kidnappers. After the news media widely reported he had been beheaded he showed up in Lebanon and ultimately alerted the U.S. Embassy in Beirut of his location. He was then turned over to military custody and taken to Germany for medical and psychological evaluation.

Hassoun reportedly promised his alleged kidnappers he would not return to service in the U.S. military.

His mysterious adventure is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

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