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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- The U-S Marine Corps says they're not sending a public affairs officer to Utah to answer questions about the status of Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun (wah-SEF' ah-LEE' hah-SOON').
The 24-year-old Marine is apparently being held hostage in Iraq by a militant group which is threatening to behead him if the U-S military does not release all prisoners in Iraq.
A military commander in Iraq says Hassoun went "on an unauthorized absence" June 19 and did not report for duty the next day. Officials say based on his personal situation, there was reason to suspect he was headed to Lebanon.
Second Lieutenant Earl Speechle (SPEEK-uhl) at Marine headquarters in Washington wouldn't comment on Hassoun's status. But he says his office is answering all inquiries and they have no plans to send a public affairs officer to Salt Lake City.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)