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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Ali Arrives in London

Aired August 8, 2003 - 20:57   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Five months after a bomb killed his family and left him maimed, an Iraqi boy who the world knows simply as Ali arrived in London and took another step toward putting the war behind him.
Andrea Catherwood reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA CATHERWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite the summer heat wave, Ali insisted on wearing his shirt and tie as he walked unaided from the plane, because he thought it was important he looked smart for his arrival in Britain.

Coming here is the opportunity Ali has longed for since he learned that in Rohampton (ph) Hospital, he'll receive the best artificial limbs available anywhere in the world.

He arrived at RAF Northold (ph) with Ahmed Hamza (ph), also from Baghdad. He lost a leg and a hand when a bomb hit his home.

They were flown from Kuwait, where they've been receiving treatment, in style, on the Kuwaiti prime minister's private jet. It is a measure of Ali's newfound status that the Kuwait government, who are paying for all Ali's treatment, are already calling him an ambassador of peace.

When I first met him, his horrific injuries, amputations, and burns and his tragic story -- he lost his parents and most of his family in the bomb that maimed him -- seemed to encapsulate the suffering of all innocent Iraqis. Overnight, he had become a worldwide symbol of the horror of war.

Now, almost five months since the bomb destroyed his family, Ali is in Britain. The Limnus (ph) Association charity, who arranged his treatment, say it is best place he could be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just have this most amazing expertise and experience. They have dealt with people in Ali's position.

CATHERWOOD (on camera): It has been a long, long journey that's brought Ali this far. Now he and Ahmed are spending a few days acclimatizing in London before they go to Rohampton Hospital and Ali begins the next crucial phase of his treatment, where he'll have his artificial limbs fitted, and learn to use them.

Andrea Catherwood, ITV News, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: What a courageous little boy. All the best luck in the world to him.

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