Aug 8th



ALI ABBAS, the orphaned Iraqi boy who lost both arms and most of his family during the war in Iraq, flew into Britain yesterday to be fitted with artificial limbs.

The 13-year-old who was injured in a US bomb

ing raid on Baghdad, landed at RAF Northolt, Middlesex, in a private jet shortly after 3pm.

He was joined on the flight by his uncle and Ahmed Mohammed Hamza, 14, who lost his left leg below the knee and his right hand in a coalition bombardment.

The boys are to meet experts from the Limbless Association and will be fitted with prosthetic limbs at Queen Mary's Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, Roehampton, south west London, where they will be admitted on Monday morning.

They were flown into RAF Northolt airport from Kuwait, where Ali was being treated, on a private jet provided by Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti prime minister.

A bombing raid obliterated Ali's home killing his father, pregnant mother, brother, aunt, three cousins, and three other relatives. It is expected that the boys will remain in Britain initially for about three months.

Ali told reporters in Kuwait before his departure: "I want to return to Iraq after I get treated. I want to go to school and become a translator, and drive my car up and down Baghdad streets."

Caroline Spelman, shadow international development secretary, said: "Ali has always said he wanted to come to the UK... He acknowledges that this is not normal and knows his compatriots will not receive the same."

Following what is believed to be the first study of the casualty toll during the Iraq war, a research group said yesterday that about 20,000 civilians have been injured and claimed the US and British forces were ignoring their suffering.

The Iraq Body Count (IBC), a British-American group of academics and peace activists, claimed injured Iraqi civilians have been "brushed under the carpet" by US and British post-war administrators who had failed to set up programmes for the wounded or pay them compensation.