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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
New arms for orphan Ali
Ali Ismail Abbas
Ali said he wanted to hug his sisters with his new arms
Young Iraqi war orphan Ali Ismail Abbas has said he wants to hug his sisters, after being fitted with prosthetic arms in Britain.

The Daily Mirror reported that he was fitted with the two artificial limbs at Queen Mary's Hospital in Roehampton, south-west London, which specialises in working with amputees.

The 13-year-old lost both arms and suffered 60 per cent burns in a coalition attack on Baghdad early in the Gulf War which claimed the lives of his parents, a brother and 13 other family members.

Ali, who has six sisters living in Baghdad, told the newspaper: "I'm all here now. My arms feel good. I didn't think they'd look this good.

"Now I want to hug my sisters and the rest of my family. I also want to brush my teeth by myself and wash my face."

Ali came to Britain for specialist treatment in August after being airlifted from Iraq to a hospital in Kuwait along with 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed Hamza who lost his left leg and right hand.

Ali Ismail Abbas
Ali still feels very angry about his plight

Ali has been fitted with a cosmetic prosthetic arm on his left side and an artificial limb on the right which has an electrode touching the muscle on his stump to open and close his hand.

Obviously pleased with the result, he said: "I've been told they're going to look even better when they have the proper covering.

"It will look just like my real skin, and will even have freckles. If only my sisters could see me now."

Ali's uncle and guardian, Mohammed, presented his nephew with a new watch after he was fitted with the limbs.

"It's very nice to be able to wear it. I think I'll impress the girls with it," he said.

But Ali still feels very angry about what happened to him and his family.

Speaking on ITV1's Ali Abbas - Child of Hope, A Tonight Special, he said: "I keep asking myself: 'Why are they bombing Iraqi people? What have we done to them?'

Ali Ismail Abbas arrives for treatment at Al-Babtain Burns Centre at Ibn Sina Hospital in Kuwait City on 16 April
Ali's plight has moved the world

"I hoped that the pilot who hit our house would be burned as I am burned and my family were burned."

And he tells the programme, being screened on Monday evening, that he has mixed feelings towards the British.

"When I was in the hospital they sent me letters, but they still helped the Americans."

Ali, a keen Manchester United fan, had a club tattoo specially put on the new right arm.

Last week, he fulfilled the dream of a lifetime when he met England captain David Beckham while the star prepared for last Saturday's match with Turkey.

Ali still faces months of occupational therapy and will have to have the limbs replaced at various intervals because he is still growing.

The Limbless Association, which runs the hospital's rehabilitation centre, has raised more than 275,000 towards the cost of the two boys' care and treatment.

The BBC's Luisa Baldini
"One of the arms has the Manchester United badge on it"

Could Ali type with his new hands?
13 Aug 03  |  Magazine
Ali faces a long road
15 Apr 03  |  Health

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