U.S. Marine turns up at Lebanon embassy

July 8, 2004 at 2:30 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 8 (UPI) -- A Marine who went missing from his Iraqi base last month has turned himself into the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.

The embassy is preparing to return Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, 24, to U.S. military custody. Hassoun, a Lebanese native, apparently went on unauthorized leave from his base in western Iraq on June 20. He was assumed to be absent without leave.

However, a videotape of Hassoun was revealed showing the Marine tied up and blindfolded. His alleged captors, an Iraqi insurgent group that identified itself as the Islamic Response, threatened to kill him.

After an erroneous claim emerged over the weekend he had been beheaded, Hassoun was allegedly freed on the condition he vow not to return to the Marine Corps.

Hassoun is expected to be transferred to Landstuhl air base, Germany, for a medical check up.

Also Thursday, an apparent gunfight broke out at or near Hassoun's relative's home in Tripoli, Arab news reports said.

Earlier Thursday, sources told UPI Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid had contacted Hassoun's family by phone to congratulate them on his safe return.

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