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Marine who disappeared in iraq leaves for US
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Marine who disappeared in Iraq leaves for U.S.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine who said he was abducted from his base in Iraq and who resurfaced in Lebanon last week left an American military hospital in Germany on Wednesday to head back to the United States.
Departing from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun issued a statement through the hospital:
"I am happy to have completed this phase of my repatriation," the statement said. "The people here at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center have treated me very well, but I am excited to be going home. All thanks and praises are due to God for my safety.
"I'm also very thankful for all those kind wishes, support and prayers for me and my family from my fellow Marines, all the people in the U.S., Lebanon and around the world. I am in good health and spirits. I look forward to my return home to friends and family. Semper fidelis."
Hassoun was taken Friday from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut to Landstuhl, where he underwent medical examinations. Those examinations and a debriefing were part of routine repatriation procedures, officials said.
Pentagon officials said Hassoun will be taken to the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia, where he will continue to undergo a repatriation process.
Military officials said last week that Hassoun is in good physical condition and in "good spirits." They told reporters Hassoun had not discussed the period of his absence, and they didn't press him.
Military officials questioned the 24-year-old Marine translator about his whereabouts and who he was with between his disappearance June 19 from the Marine camp outside Fallujah, Iraq, and his re-emergence July 7 with his Lebanese family around Beirut. The officials haven't released any details from the debriefings.
When Hassoun first went missing, he was listed as a deserter, but that status was changed to "captured" after the release of a videotape June 27 showing the Marine blindfolded, with a sword hanging over his head. The Arabic-language TV news network Al-Jazeera broadcast the video.
Mohamad Hassoun, Wassef's brother in West Jordan, Utah, said last week that his brother was expected to return to his base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where the two would reunite.
CNN's Chris Burns and Stephanie Halasz contributed to this report.
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