Captured Marine Safe at U.S. Embassy in Beirut
| | July 8, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Marine Corps Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun arrived safely
today at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, according to a defense official.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said today that Hassoun, 24, had
contacted the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and that staff there "went and picked him
up." Boucher said he didn't know how Hassoun had arrived in Beirut, but
confirmed that he arrived at the U.S. mission there at about 11 a.m. EST.
Defense officials said Hassoun was last seen June 19 in Anbar Province, Iraq,
and was initially reported as missing when he failed to show up for duty June
20. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
The Defense Department changed Hassoun's status to "captured" June 28 after a
video shown the previous day on international television showed him being held
against his will by masked captors.
Details of Hassoun's capture remain unclear. A statement posted on an Islamic
Web site July 3 said he had been beheaded in Iraq. The next day, however,
another Web statement declared that Hassoun had not been murdered after
promising not to rejoin the U.S. military.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is continuing an investigation of the
circumstances surrounding Hassoun's separation from his unit. Naval Criminal
Investigative Service officials said they opened a missing-persons
investigation on Hassoun June 21, the day they received word the Marine was
Hassoun, who is of Lebanese descent, calls Salt Lake City, Utah, his home of