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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 22:47 GMT 23:47 UK
US marine 'alive, free' in Iraq
Cpl Wassef Ali Hassoun in a video broadcast Sunday 27 June
Cpl Hassoun was claimed dead on Saturday, in reports later denied
A Lebanese-born US marine who was reported to have been beheaded by his kidnappers in Iraq is alive and has been set free, his brother says.

Wassef Ali Hassoun's brother Sami said the family had received word that he had been released early on Tuesday. He did not specify the source of the call.

A militant group on Saturday claimed to have killed Mr Hassoun.

Meanwhile, al-Jazeera TV has apparently received a video of an Egyptian truck driver taken hostage in Iraq.

AP news agency said it had seen the video, in which a man, who identifies himself as Alsayeid Mohammed Alsayeid Algarabawi, stands surrounded by armed, masked men.

The group, which calls itself the Iraqi Legitimate Resistance, says it abducted the man while he was driving a fuel lorry for the US military from Saudi Arabia.

'Reassured'

Earlier, Sami Hassoun spoke to reporters in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, from where the family originates.

"We have received a call that reassured us. My brother is alive and has been freed," he said.

It is reported that the Lebanese foreign ministry had been told by Lebanon's Baghdad embassy that the US soldier is alive.

The Tripoli- and Utah-based branches of the family have been praying and pleading for a bloodless solution to the kidnapping since a report on al-Jazeera on Monday contradicted earlier reports of the beheading.

Al-Jazeera quoted an Iraqi group - Islamic Response - as saying that Cpl Hassoun had been moved to a safe place.

There has been no confirmation of any of the developments by the US military.

Family members said Wassef Hassoun was born in Lebanon, educated at American schools there and then joined the US marines after moving to Utah four years ago.

The 24-year-old is fluent in Arabic, French and English and was reportedly serving as a translator in his second stint in Iraq when he was captured.





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