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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December 2004, 13:08 GMT
Profile: Wassef Ali Hassoun
Cpl Hassoun
Hassoun's disappearance was mired in confusion
US Marine Cpl Wassef Ali Hassoun faces charges of desertion after vanishing from a military camp near Falluja, Iraq, in June.

Less than three week after his disappearance, he walked into the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

Like many other foreigners in Iraq, he said he had been kidnapped by insurgents and held hostage.

His ordeal tightened the tension felt by many Muslims in the US between identity, doctrine and loyalty.

Abroad, in Cpl Hassoun's birthplace of Lebanon, the incident sparked violence amid accusations - inside the family - of betrayal and collusion.

Cpl Hassoun was educated at American schools in Lebanon before moving to the US four years ago.

He lived with his brother in Utah for two years before joining the US Marines.

Cpl Hassoun was first married to an American, but they divorced, and he married a cousin of his by proxy earlier this year, the Washington Post newspaper quotes family sources as saying.

Fearing the worst

The 24-year-old is fluent in Arabic, French and English and was serving as a translator in his second stint in Iraq at the time of his disappearance.

His family feared for his life after he appeared on Arabic television blindfolded and with a sword held above his head.

When Cpl Hassoun was allegedly being held by kidnappers, prayers were said for his safe return at Salt Lake City's al-Noor mosque, where the marine sometimes worshipped.

Cpl Wassef Ali Hassoun in a video broadcast Sunday 27 June
At one point it was reported he was beheaded by his Islamist captors
Zach Simpson, an American convert to Islam, knew him in college and had prayed with him at the mosque.

When Cpl Hassoun was still missing, Mr Simpson told the BBC his friend was wrong to join the Marines and fight in Muslim countries.

But there was relief, when in July, two-and-a-half weeks after going missing, Cpl Hassoun appeared safe and well in Beirut.

It is unclear how he made the 800km (500 miles) journey from Iraq to Lebanon - where he has relatives.

His presence in Lebanon, however, fanned tensions in his family not far from the Lebanese capital, Tripoli.

A long-standing dispute erupted in a gunfight - after a man told one of Cpl Hassoun's relatives that he came from a family of traitors who collaborate with Americans, The Washington Post reported.

Two people were killed.


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