Iraqi bomb boy's anger at pilot
Monday, October 13, 2003
LONDON, England Iraqi war orphan Ali Abbas says he hopes the U.S. pilot who bombed his family will be made to suffer as he has.
Ali's plight has made headlines in Britain.
Ali lost both arms and suffered 60 percent burns in a U.S. bombing raid on Baghdad that killed both his parents and 13 other family members. He has now been fitted with artificial arms in a London hospital.
He told ITV1's Tonight Special, to be screened on Tuesday, he still had vivid memories of the night of the strike that killed his parents and 13 other family members.
"I keep asking myself: 'Why are they bombing Iraqi people? What have we done to them?' I hoped that the pilot who hit our house would be burned as I am burned and my family were burned."
He said he had mixed feelings about the British following his ordeal.
"When I was in the hospital they sent me letters, but they still helped the Americans," he said.
He recalled huddling with his family in his home during the bombing, and later being stopped by the police as he rushed to hospital.
"They asked questions like: 'Where are you going? Where are you heading? Who is this?' Then I looked at my arms and I saw them gone. They said: 'It is a hopeless case, it's hopeless.'"
Images of Ali lying in a filthy cot in a Baghdad hospital, close to death, shocked the world.
The teenager, who is now looked after by his uncle, was airlifted to a hospital in Kuwait for treatment amid fears an infection could prove fatal.
He was later brought to Britain where he was fitted with two artificial arms at Queen Mary's Hospital in Roehampton, south-west London, which is renowned for working with amputees.
He now has a cosmetic prosthetic on his left side and a state-of-the-art artificial limb on the right with an electrode touching the muscle on his stump to open and close his hand.
Football lover Ali had a Manchester United tattoo specially put on the new right arm.
Last week he fulfilled one of his dreams when he met England captain David Beckham while the star was training for the European Championships clash with Turkey.
He now faces months of occupational therapy and, while he is growing, the limbs will need to be replaced at intervals.
He plans to return to his country at some point, where he hopes to go to school and enjoy some "proper Iraqi cooking".
He said: "I want to go back to Iraq to my family and I will feel better. And then I will think."
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