Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Marine, driver captured


Insurgents yesterday threatened to behead a US Marine and a Pakistani driver they had kidnapped unless the US releases all Iraqis in "occupation jails," according to a videotape aired on Arab television. Turkey rejected demands by militants holding three Turkish hostages in a separate standoff.

The family of US Marine Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun confirmed that he was the kidnapped American serviceman who appeared in a videotape shown on Sunday. The US military said Hassoun, a Muslim of Middle Eastern origin, had been missing from his unit for nearly a week.

The hostage had a white blindfold covering his eyes. He wore military fatigues, and his mustache was trimmed.

The kidnappers claimed to have infiltrated a Marine outpost, lured Hassoun outside and abducted him. Arabic broadcaster al Jazeera said the militants demanded the release of all Iraqis "in occupation jails" or the hostage would be killed.

They identified themselves as part of "Islamic Response," the security wing of the "National Islamic Resistance -- 1920 Revolution Brigades." The name refers to the Iraqi uprising against the British after World War I.

The group, which has claimed responsibility for previous anti-American attacks, first surfaced in an Aug. 12 statement claiming the US was hiding its casualty tolls in Iraq to help US President George W. Bush's election chances.

Hassoun's family in Utah asked people to join them in prayers.

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