ALI Ismaeel Abbas, 12,
was fast asleep when war shattered his life.
A missile obliterated
his home and most of his family, leaving him orphaned, badly
burned - and blowing off both his arms.
With tears running down
his face he asked: "Can you help get my arms back? Do you
think the doctors can get me another pair of hands? If I don't
get a pair of hands I will commit suicide.
"I wanted to be an
army officer when I grow up but not any more. Now I want to be a
doctor - but how can I? I don't have hands."
Lying in a Baghdad
hospital, an improvised metal cage over his chest to stop his
burned flesh touching the bedclothes, he said: "It was
midnight when the missile fell on us. My father, my mother and
my brother died. My mother was five months pregnant.
pulled me out and brought me here unconscious.
"Our house was
just a poor shack. Why did they want to bomb us?"
He did not know the
area where he lived was surrounded by military installations.
Hospital staff were
overwhelmed by the sharp rise in casualties since US troops
moved on Baghdad and intensified the aerial assault.
TRAGEDY: Ali was
left orphaned and terribly injured in bombing raid
Ambulances rushed in
with victims, many carried in bedsheets after running out of
Doctors struggled to
find them beds. Staff had no time to clean the blood from
trolleys. Patients' screams and parents' cries echoed across the
With many staff unable
to get there due to the bombing, doctors worked round the clock
performing surgery, taking blood, giving injections and ferrying
Dr Osama Saleh al-Duleimi,
an orthopaedic surgeon and assistant director at Kindi, said
they were overloaded and suffering shortages of anaesthetics and
The Red Cross has been
touring hospitals with first aid and surgery kits. Spokesman
Roland Huguenin-Benjamin said: "They were overwhelmed by
sheer numbers - during fierce bombardment they received up to
100 casualties an hour."
Doctors who treated
victims of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and the 1991 Gulf War were
taken aback by the injuries. Dr Duleimi, 48, said: "This is
the worst I've seen in the number of casualties and fatal
"This is a
disaster because they're attacking civilians."
Dr Sadek al-Mukhtar
said: "In the previous battles the weapons seemed merely
disabling. Now they're much more lethal.
"Before the war I
did not regard America as my enemy. Now I do. War should be
against the military. America is killing civilians."