London, Aug. 11 (Reuters): A boy whose armless torso, horrific burns and haunted eyes symbolised civilian suffering in the Iraq war smiled for the cameras today and carers said he bore no grudges against US forces for his injuries.
Ali Ismaeel Abbas, 13, victim of a US bombing raid on Baghdad that killed his parents and other family members, spoke to reporters at Queen Mary’s Hospital in London where he and another Iraqi boy are due to be fitted with artificial limbs.
In a sign of his affection for Britain’s biggest soccer club, Ali said he wanted a Manchester United logo on one of the artificial arms he will be given.
“I’m looking forward to getting the... limbs as soon as possible,” said Ali, speaking through a translator.
“He’s very grateful to the British people and he assures us he has no bitter feelings,” said Zafar Khan, chairman of the Limbless Association, which is affiliated to the rehabilitation centre where the boys will be treated.
Ali had both his arms blown off during the attack. His father, pregnant mother, brother, aunt, three cousins and three other relatives were all killed.
Ahmed Mohammed Hamza, 14, who appeared before the cameras with Ali, lost part of his left leg and his right arm in a similar incident.
Ali and Ahmed looked relaxed and unassuming as they sat before dozens of photographers and TV cameramen at the hospital. Ali, making his first public appearance in Britain since arriving for treatment, wore a denim shirt over the stumps of his arms. Ahmed, in a wheelchair, wore a blue and white T-shirt adorned with a picture of England soccer captain David Beckham.