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Artificial arms hope for Ali

London, Aug. 8 (Reuters): Ali Ismaeel Abbas, the boy who lost both arms during the Iraq war, can expect to lead an independent life after he is fitted with artificial limbs, specialists who will be treating him in Britain said today.

The 13-year-old Iraqi boy who touched the hearts of millions after he lost his arms and most of his family, will have his first assessment on Monday at the Roehampton Rehabilitation Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital in London. Specialists at the centre believe the prosthetic arms will enable him to one day achieve his dream of driving in Baghdad.

“He’ll be able to play footfall. He will be able to run around and do all sorts of things that other lads can do,” Nick Hillsdon, the specialist who will fit the arms, said. Ali is among thousands of Iraqi civilians wounded during the US-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein in April. Ali, who arrived in Britain yesterday, will probably not be able to write with his electrical hands. But they will have a three-point grip which will allow him to hold a book.

Hillsdon said Ali’s case is particularly challenging because his arms were lost very high above the elbow. “The more (arm) he has missing the more complex these things get,” he said. But Hillsdon said he draws inspiration from a seven-year-old boy who lost both arms at the shoulder in an accident.

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