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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-317368 Lebanon / U.S. Marine (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=7/9/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=LEBANON / U.S. MARINE (L-ONLY)

NUMBER=2-317368

BYLINE=JAMES MARTONE

DATELINE=CAIRO

HEADLINE: Missing US Marine in Iraq Goes to Germany for Debriefing

INTRO: A Lebanese-born U.S. marine who turned up in his native country after disappearing in Iraq was flown to Germany on Friday for debriefing. He spent the night at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, where officials say he'd turned himself in voluntarily. James Martone reports from VOA's Middle East Bureau in Cairo.

TEXT: The public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Elizabeth Wharton, gave a brief statement following the departure of Marine Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun to Germany.

/// WHARTON ACT ///

"The latest is that the corporal, Hassoun, departed Beirut at about 3:35 local time in the afternoon on a military transport, and all further inquires about his case should be referred to the Department of Defense."

/// END ACT ///

The U.S marine disappeared from his unit in Iraq on June 21st, and there had been conflicting reports about his whereabouts ever since, including reports last week on a militant Muslim website that the 24-year-old corporal had been beheaded.

U.S. military officials say an investigation into how and why he disappeared is now under way.

The circumstances regarding how Corporal Hassoun got back to Lebanon also remain unclear. His brother, Sami Hassoun, from the Lebanese city of Tripoli told reporters Friday that Wassef Ali Hassoun was on his way to Germany and would then head for the United States, where he moved four years ago.

Officials said the marine left Beirut aboard a U.S. Air Force transport taking him to a medical center in Germany for debriefing and examination. (Signed)

NEB/JM/ALW/KBK/FC



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