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The Conflict in Iraq

Amid Probe, Marine Back on Job

September 15, 2004|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was returned to full duty Tuesday at Camp Lejeune, N.C., but the Marine Corps said it was still investigating his June disappearance in Iraq and his contention that he was kidnapped.

"Medical authorities declared him to be fit for full duty late Monday, allowing Hassoun to return to duty in the brigade motor pool where he worked prior to his deployment to Iraq last February," the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Maj. Matt Morgan, a spokesman at Camp Lejeune, said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service was still examining the circumstances of Hassoun's disappearance.

Officials said earlier that investigators were looking into whether Hassoun was abducted by militants in Iraq -- as suggested by a videotape -- whether the kidnapping was a hoax, or whether he had deserted.

Meanwhile, no restrictions on movements have been placed on the Lebanese-born Hassoun, who told reporters in July after he was found in Beirut and returned to the United States that he was captured and held against his will and that he did not desert.

Hassoun, who disappeared June 19 from his unit in Iraq, was seen in the videotape apparently being held by militants, blindfolded with a sword poised over his head. Two Islamist websites later claimed that he had been beheaded.

But he showed up unharmed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on July 8.

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