Report: Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun Alive

CNN BREAKING NEWS: Iraqi Islamist group says it has moved abducted U.S. Marine Wassef Ali Hassoun to “a place of safety,” Al-Jazeera television reports. Details soon.

UPDATE: Report: Captured Marine in safe place

An Iraqi Islamic militant group says it is holding a U.S. Marine in “a place of safety,” according to a statement from the group read by the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera, Reuters reported. The Islamic Movement said that in exchange for being moved to an undisclosed location, Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun has pledged not to return to his military unit, the statement said.

The same group one week ago had vowed it would kill the hostage Marine.

On Sunday, another group, Ansar al-Sunna, denied reports that Hassoun had been beheaded. “This statement quoting us is baseless, and it’s not true at all,” the militant group Ansar al-Sunna said in a statement posted on its Web site. Hassoun, an Arabic translator, was last seen June 19.

The same story is appearing elsewhere:

Reuters – U.S. hostage taken “to safety”

AP – Captured U.S. Marine said to be alive

Al Jazeera – Iraqi group: US marine sent to ‘safe haven’

The group, calling itself “Islamic Response – the security wing of the Islamic Resistance of Iraq”, said on Monday it sent Cpl Wasif Ali Hassun, a US Marine of Lebanese heritage, to a “safe place” but without specifying the exact location. The armed group said Hassun announced he will not rejoin the US army. [A good thing, since he’s a Marine. -ed.]

***

“The denial gave us a big relief,” Hassoun’s brother, Sami, said by telephone from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where he, his father and several other relatives live.

News.com (Australia) – US marine ‘set free’ in Iraq

A US marine held hostage in Iraq has been released, according to a statement said to be from an Islamic militant group.

The statement attributed to the Islamic Retaliation Movement, which had threatened to behead Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, said the Lebanese-born marine was “returned to his safe base”.

Arab television channel Al-Jazeera received the message this morning.

The US marines said they had no news of Hassoun’s release and were still listing him as captured.

“We’re not going to comment on what al-Jazeera is saying,” said Lieutenant Corporal [That’d be Lieutenant Colonel, you idiot. -ed.] T.V. Johnson.

Probably best.

Hat tip to Kevin Aylward and Michele Catalano for some of the alternative story links.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kate says:

    Well, for the sake of his family, I hope it’s true. Otherwise, it’s cruelty of unimaginable depths – regardless of how he found himself/placed himself in harms way.

    I can’t imagine what they’ve been going through over the past week.

  2. jen says:

    Are you sure the Marines didn’t add a new rank of Lt. Cpl? 😆