U.S. Marine Reported Beheaded

7-3-04- An Iraqi militant group is claiming it has beheaded a U-S Marine of Lebanese descent, and taken another hostage. The claim comes in a statement posted today on an Islamic Web site.

The Marine from Utah, Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, appeared blindfolded in a videotape aired last month on the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.

Militants threatened to kill him unless the United States released all Iraqis
in "occupation jails."

Today's claim comes from a group called Ansar al-Sunna Army and
is signed in the name of the group's leader, Abu Abdullah al-Hassan
bin Mahmoud.

The message is dated June 20th, the day the military said Hassoun was reported missing. It gives no details on the other hostage.

U.S. military officials in Baghdad say they are checking into the report.

Hassoun's family is in seclusion in West Jordan, Utah. A police
captain who has acted as a family spokesman was seen entering the
home about an hour after the Web site declaration became public.


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