National

Iraqi boy heads home after eye surgery

A 10-year-old Iraqi boy left Tokyo for home Wednesday night after a one-month stay in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, where he underwent surgery on his left eye.

Mohamad Haytham Saleh and his father, Haytham, will fly to Amman via Kansai International Airport near Osaka and Dubai, and travel by land to Fallujah, his hometown west of Baghdad, supporters said.

They will be accompanied to Amman by Yukiko Hashida, the wife of Shinsuke Hashida, a freelance journalist who was arranging for the Iraqi boy to visit Japan when he was slain along with his nephew Kotaro Ogawa in Iraq in late May.

“Thank you for helping me,” Mohamad told his supporters in Arabic as he left a Numazu hotel early Wednesday afternoon.

“I would like to come back to Numazu for an eye checkup in six months.”

Doctors have said the surgery was successful and that Mohamad should recover his eyesight in several months with the help of contact lenses.

Leaving Numazu by car, Mohamad tearfully waved to people there to send him off.

Kanjuro Kato, a 51-year-old chef at the hotel, said the boy’s favorite food was a stew made of lamb and okra. He said Mohamad invited him to visit Iraq once it was peaceful again so that Kato could taste the dishes Mohamad’s mother made.

Mohamad’s left eye was injured during a battle between U.S. troops and armed groups in Fallujah in November.

Coronavirus banner