US Marine leaves Germanyafter Iraq disappearance

14th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 July 2004 , RAMSTEIN - A US Marine who claimed he was held hostage in Iraq was on his way back home to the United States from Ramstein air base in Germany Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman at the base. Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, 24, issued a brief statement prior to departure saying he was "looking forward" to being reunited with friends and families in America. Petra Day, the spokeswoman, said Hassoun was flown out of the base Wednesday following a battery of medical tests and de-briefing at Land

14 July 2004

RAMSTEIN - A US Marine who claimed he was held hostage in Iraq was on his way back home to the United States from Ramstein air base in Germany Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman at the base.

Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, 24, issued a brief statement prior to departure saying he was "looking forward" to being reunited with friends and families in America.

Petra Day, the spokeswoman, said Hassoun was flown out of the base Wednesday following a battery of medical tests and de-briefing at Landstuhl military hospital.

"I am happy to have completed this phase of my repatriation," the statement said. "The people here at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center have treated me very well, but I am excited to be going home. All thanks and praises are due to God for my safety.

"I'm also very thankful for all those kind wishes, support and prayers for me and my family from my fellow Marines, all the people in the US, Lebanon and around the world. I am in good health and spirits. I look forward to my return home to friends and family. Semper fidelis."

He claims he was kidnapped in Iraq on 27 June. An announcement threatening to decapitate him was then posted on an internet website.

He was reported released later on a website used by extremists as he had allegedly promised to leave the U.S. military.

Hassoun somehow made his way to the U.S. embassy in Beirut, where he voluntarily entered the grounds.

In the days following his disappearance from a U.S. base in Iraq, Hassoun was listed as missing. There were reports that he left voluntarily, and that the marines were considering him as absent without leave. He had last been seen on June 27.

Hassoun, who is of Lebanese extraction, had his status changed to "captured" by the US military on 28 June.

DPA

Subject: German news

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