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Kidnapped marine takes leave in Utah

July 31, 2004 at 10:43 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, July 31 (UPI) -- Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, the U.S. Marine translator who was held hostage by militants in Iraq, arrived to his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday.

CNN reported that a U.S. Marine spokesman confirmed that Hassoun has been granted leave -- he is eligible for a convalescent leave of up to 30 days.

As Hassoun arrived on a commercial flight and walked through the airport terminal, people shouted, "Welcome home."

"It feels good," he said. "It feels perfect."

Hassoun's brother lives in West Jordan, Utah, and the marine lived there just before his enlistment.

He was reported missing June 20 from a camp near Falluja, Iraq, and later appeared July 7 in Lebanon, where he was born and has relatives.

He was listed a deserter until a videotape was broadcast that showed him as a captive of militants. Hassoun has denied being a deserter and staging his own kidnapping.

The Navy Criminal Investigative Service is investigating Hassoun's disappearance.

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