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Marine being debriefed on disappearance


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Marine quizzed over disappearance from U.S. base in Iraq.

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Wasseff Hassoun

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (CNN) -- U.S. Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, who resurfaced in Lebanon after disappearing in Iraq, was being debriefed Saturday at a U.S. military base in Germany.

Mohammed Hassoun, the Marine's brother, said Wassef told him in a phone call Saturday morning to his home in West Jordan, Utah, that he was being treated "very well."

Wassef indicated the debriefing was going well and that neither the FBI nor the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had given him any indication for concern, Mohammed said.

The 24-year-old translator also told his brother that he was staying in a suite at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

The Marine may return to his base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Monday or Tuesday, his brother said.

Military officials want to know Wassef Hassoun's whereabouts and who he was with between his disappearance June 19 from the Marine camp outside Fallujah and his re-emergence Wednesday with his Lebanese family in Tripoli.

During his disappearance, Hassoun had been listed as captured in Iraq after being shown on a video blindfolded with a sword being held over his head.

Officials have said Hassoun would talk to a SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and escape) Team, which would seek operational information from him that could help troops who find themselves in similar situations. Officials said Hassoun would be promised confidentiality for those sessions and that information he relates cannot be used against him.

Hassoun in 'excellent' shape

Hassoun arrived Friday in Germany after leaving the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

"I found him in excellent physical condition, and I did not see any bruises or any injuries on his person," Hassoun's attending physician, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Peter Marco, said Friday. "He's very exhausted."

Marco said Hassoun, who is 6 feet tall, had lost about 20 pounds -- dropping from 190 to about 170 -- and the Marine told him his spirits were down before his reunion with his family in Lebanon. Marco said Hassoun also reported suffering from chronic headaches.

A clinical psychologist at the briefing said Hassoun reported he had slept only two or three hours a night in the past few weeks.

Hassoun is undergoing medical examinations at Landstuhl as part of routine repatriation procedures, which also include addressing the Marine's psychological health.

Video claimed Marine would be killed

The U.S. Defense Department changed his status Friday to "returned to military control." Before the video of him was broadcast by an Arabic-language satellite TV network, military investigators had classified him as a deserter.

The video was broadcast June 27 on Al-Jazeera. A narrator on the tape said the captive would be killed if the United States did not free jailed Iraqis. (Full story)

At one point, reports on Islamist Web sites said Hassoun had been beheaded.

On Monday, a group claiming to have kidnapped Hassoun said it had taken him to safety after he promised not to return to the U.S. military, Al-Jazeera reported. (Full story)


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