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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 April, 2003, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Wanted: Arms for young Ali
Ali Ismail Abbas
Ali's plight touched the hearts of many around the world
Doctors treating the badly injured Iraqi boy Ali Ismail Abbas are searching for the best possible artificial limbs to help him regain as normal a life as possible.

Ibrahim Ghoniem, a plastic surgeon at the hospital in Kuwait City where the 12-year-old is being treated, said he was recovering well.

The youngster lost both arms and was severely burned during a coalition air raid on Baghdad in which his family was killed.

Doctors treating him in Iraq feared he would die of blood poisoning as they lacked the facilities to give him the specialist treatment he needed.

After an international appeal for help, Ali was airlifted to Kuwait where he is being treated at the Saud A Albabtain Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery.

'Out of danger'

"When we received Ali, the wounds were dirty and infected and we did the first surgery by excising the burn area and all the infected tissue," Dr Ghoniem told the BBC's Breakfast with Frost television programme.

His morale is good, he is sleeping well and eating well
Dr Ibrahim Ghoniem

"Once we control the infection we will proceed to cover the burn area with his own skin, which will take two to three sessions," he added.

Dr Ghoniem said the artificial limb centre in Kuwait was "optimistic" they could provide Ali with a state-of-the-art myoelectric limb to replace his right arm and a cosmetic one for his left.

"Also we are in contact with the highest specialised centres for artificial limbs (in the world) and we are looking for the most recent and sophisticated in the field," he said.

"He is out of danger, we managed to control the infection and we consulted a psychiatrist and a psychologist for him to get him out of the impact of the burn injury and the loss of the upper limbs.

"His morale is good, he is sleeping well and eating well. The people here in Kuwait give him the feeling he is with his family."

The BBC's David Willis and Clive Myrie
"A large crowd gathered to see him leave and cheer him on his way"

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