Marines Formally Investigate Corporal Who Vanished In Iraq


Marine Corps officers in North Carolina are launching a formal investigation into whether a Lebanese-American Marine deserted his unit in Iraq or later after returning to the United States.

A spokesman for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune said Thursday that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun is being investigated for alleged desertion, destruction of government property and larceny. He faced those charges a decade ago after disappearing from his unit in Iraq with a 9 mm service pistol and a Humvee.

A photo of a blindfolded Hassoun turned up on Al-Jazeera television a week after his 2004 disappearance. Hassoun soon contacted American officials in Beirut, Lebanon, saying he'd been kidnapped.

He returned to Camp Lejeune, but disappeared again later months later while visiting his family in Utah.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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A Marine Corps spokesman says a corporal who disappeared in Iraq a decade ago and was later declared a deserter is in custody at a North Carolina brig.

Lt. Col. Cliff W. Gilmore of the II Marine Expeditionary Force said Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun returned to Camp Lejeune on Monday.

Gilmore said Hassoun was in the Middle East when he contacted U.S. authorities to give himself up. Gilmore wouldn't say what country.

Hassoun was born in Lebanon and is a naturalized American citizen.

Hassoun disappeared from his unit in Iraq in 2004. He soon turned up unharmed in Lebanon and said he'd been kidnapped by Islamic extremists. He disappeared again before facing the military equivalent of a grand jury.

He was declared a deserter in January 2005.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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