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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Kuwait ready to treat Iraqi boy
Ali Ismail Abbas
Medical staff say Ali's condition deteriorates every day
Kuwait says it is preparing to receive an Iraqi boy who lost both his arms in a coalition air raid.

Medical staff treating 12-year-old Ali Ismail Abbas have said he may die unless he is immediately flown out for specialist treatment.

Both Ali's parents were killed in an attack last week on his home in Baghdad, in which he was also severely burned.

Kuwait's health ministry on Tuesday told the BBC the boy would soon be airlifted to hospital.

You have all this technology to bomb us... but you cannot spare one aircraft for one day to save a life?
Iraqi nurse Fatin Sharhah

"In the last half-hour I received an instruction from the Kuwait Government, that we are contacting the alliance to make everything possible to transfer the case to Kuwait as soon as possible," Dr Ahmed al-Shatti told BBC television.

Kuwait is already treating seven Iraqi children injured in the war, the ministry said. All are said to be stable.

Hospitals in Iraq are simply unable to cope, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has warned.

"Hospitals are having to deal with ill children without the drugs they need and without water," spokeswoman Kathryn Irwin told BBC News Online.

"How can you treat someone without clean water?"

She also warned that unless hospitals got urgent help, more children would became dangerously malnourished, putting more pressure on the hospitals.

"Ali's voice is one among millions of children's voices we're not hearing," said the spokeswoman.

The offer of help from Kuwait in the case of Ali Ismail Abbas, came after a nurse at the Saddam City hospital in Baghdad, where he is being treated, issued a direct plea to coalition leaders.

Fatin Sharhah's letter to US President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair read: "The situation is desperate. He will die if he stays."

Pictures of Ali in his hospital bed were transmitted around the world.

Ms Sharhah's letter said Ali's condition was deteriorating every day.

She said unless Ali received special care he could die of blood poisoning.

"Please send one of your helicopters or planes," she wrote.

"You have all this technology to bomb us, to make the missile that burned Ali's house, but you cannot spare one aircraft for one day to save a life?"

A spokeswoman for the UK's Ministry of Defence on Monday said Baghdad was under US control.

The US was co-operating with the Red Cross while Ali was outside of British jurisdiction, she said.

Maharani's pledge

A number of British newspapers have set up funds to help Ali and other victims of the war, while British amputees have launched the Ali Fund.

The Ali Fund, a joint venture by the Limbless Association and UK conservative politician Caroline Spelman, has received at least 50,000 ($80,000).

The Daily Mirror's fund has raised another $150,000.

Payment for Ali's treatment has also been pledged by the Maharani of Jaipur.

The BBC's Nicola Dann
"Ali's case has attracted widespread media attention across the world"

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