A missing U.S. Marine who at one point was said to have been captured by Iraqi militants is safe and has met with officials at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, U.S. officials said.
More than two weeks after he was reported missing from his barracks in Iraq, Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, 24, of West Jordan, Utah, was picked up today with his brothers at an undisclosed location in Lebanon.
Speaking at a news conference in Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Hassoun, who was born in Lebanon, had made contact with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and arranged a place to meet.
"We went to pick him up and brought him back to the embassy," Boucher told reporters.
A senior State Department official told ABC News Hassoun would be debriefed after receiving any medical attention he might need.
U.S. military officials have said Hassoun disappeared June 20 from Iraq on "unauthorized leave," but changed his status to "captured" after he turned up on Arab television blindfolded with a sword hanging over his head.
On Saturday, a statement posted on an Islamist Web site said Hassoun had been beheaded in Iraq. But a day later, another Web statement declared the Marine had not been killed after he promised not to rejoin the U.S. military.
Earlier this week, Hassoun's relatives in Lebanon said they had reason to believe he had been released and was safe. But the family provided no further details.
There have been media reports that offiicials suspect the disappearance may have been a hoax. U.S. military officials say they are investigating the matter.