Mon, Jul 5, 2004 at 2:53:50 pm
The story of Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun gets stranger, as the “Islamic Response” terror gang now claims they have spared his life—in return for a vow to desert the US military: Report: Group Says Marine in Safe Place.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - An Iraqi militant group said Monday it had not killed a U.S. Marine it was holding captive, Al-Jazeera television reported.
In a statement sent to Al-Jazeera, a group, calling itself “Islamic Response,” said it was holding Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, a U.S. Marine of Lebanese heritage. The group said he was safe at a location it did not identify.
On Saturday a Web site posting claimed Hassoun had been beheaded. On Sunday, a second Web posting on another Internet site said Hassoun was alive.
The United States reported Hassoun, 24, missing after he did not report for duty at his base in Iraq on June 20. On June 27, Al-Jazeera broadcast a videotape showing Hassoun blindfolded along with a statement from militants threatening to kill him unless the United States released all Iraqis in “occupation jails.” Militants held a curved sword over his head.
Other militant groups have captured and threatened to behead other foreign Muslim hostages, creating an uproar among many Muslims, including other militants. All the captured Muslims aside from Hassoun have been released unharmed.
The statement Monday claimed that Hassoun had promised not to return to the American military.