Yesterday’s reports of claims that Wassef Ali Hassoun was beheaded have now been denied.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – An Iraqi guerrilla group denied on Sunday that it put out a statement a day earlier claiming to have beheaded kidnapped Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, leaving the fate of the U.S. Marine unclear.
The denial by the Ansar al-Sunna Army group left open the possibility that the 24-year-old American of Lebanese origin was killed by another group or that he was still alive.
A Lebanese Foreign Ministry official in Beirut said Hassoun was believed to be dead and that Lebanese officials in Iraq were trying to track down his body.
Lebanon’s chief of mission in Baghdad “is trying to confirm the killing 100 percent, but it seems to be over,” the Foreign Ministry official told The Associated Press. “We understand that he was slaughtered. God help him.”
Later, however, Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid said news of the death “was not official.” The U.S. military in Baghdad said it had no confirmation of Hassoun’s death and repeated Sunday that his status remains “captured.”It’s worth noting that the alleged murder of Keith “Matt” Maupin has not been confirmed either.
Update: Joe Gandelman has more on the conflicting reports and contradictions.