INTERNATIONAL

Doctors optimistic on Abbas

LONDON AUG 10. British doctors are reported to be optimistic that Ali Ismaeel Abbas, the teenaged Iraqi boy who lost both his arms in American bombing, would be able to resume normal life with the help of prosthetic limbs.

The 13-year-old boy, who became the public face of the brutalising effect of American bombing of Iraq, arrived here earlier this week to be treated at Queen Mary's Rehabilitation Centre.

Also with him was another Iraqi teenager, Ahmed Mohammed Hamza, who lost his right arm and left leg in the bombing.

They would be admitted to hospital on Monday for an assessment of their needs, and their treatment is expected to last several months. A hospital spokesman said: "As soon as they arrive, a team of doctors, prosthetists, therapists and technicians will assess their needs."

Ali lost both his parents and 13 other family members when a missile hit their home, and he was so severely burnt that he had to be airlifted to Kuwait for emergency treatment.

The Kuwaiti Government is paying for the treatment of both the boys, who are accompanied by Ali's uncle. The Kuwaiti Health Minister, Mohammed al-Jarrallah, was quoted as saying that his Government was "committed to treating them until they are fully grown."

Meanwhile, charities working with war victims have said that there are hundreds of Iraqi children who lost their limbs in American bombing and need rehabilitation.

They have quoted Kuwaiti doctors, who treated Ali, as saying that up to 1,000 Iraqi children are facing an uncertain future because of the injuries suffered during the bombing. The Limbless Association, the charity involved in the Ali case, has called for a specialist rehabilitation centre to be set up in Iraq to treat these children.