• Kyodo


A 10-year-old Iraqi boy was released from a hospital here Monday after successful surgery on his left eye, which was injured during a gunbattle in his country.

Mohamad Haytham Saleh is here for treatment arranged by two freelance journalists, Shinsuke Hashida, 61, and his nephew, Kotaro Ogawa, 33, who were killed in an ambush in Iraq late last month.

According to a doctor at the hospital, the boy can continue his treatment in Iraq and should recover his eyesight in several months, when he starts using contact lenses. However, he may need to return to Japan to receive a lens implant.

Wearing sunglasses, the boy left the hospital with his father at 12:30 p.m. He waved to well-wishers who had come to see him off with calls of congratulations for the operation.

The boy was injured during a battle between U.S. troops and insurgents in the city of Fallujah in November.

Following his release, the boy met with Hashida’s wife, Yukiko, at a hotel in Numazu.

Mohamad smiled when Yukiko asked whether his eye was all right and kissed him on the cheek.

“(His) treatment was made possible through the cooperation of many people, and I am grateful” she said.