Jewish Organization Flies Wounded Muslim Children to Israel With AM-Yugoslavia, Bjt
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Choking back tears as he peered out of a U.N. armored truck, 11-year-old Adis Alihodzic set off Monday to have a new leg fitted in Israel.
Accompanied by his mother and sister, Adis was in a first group of five nervous Muslim children being taken to Tel Aviv hospitals on a flight sponsored by Sarajevo’s Jewish community.
Eventually, organizers hope to fly out 100 wounded children who can’t get proper treatment in Sarajevo. They are to be treated by Palestinian doctors in the newly autonomous West Bank territories.
″The Jewish community here has been flooded with requests from children who have been forgotten,″ said Joel Weinberg, of the World Conference on Religion and Peace.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has evacuated more than 1,000 sick and wounded people from Bosnia, mostly Europe and North America. But it insists Sarajevo doctors have the equipment and expertise to fit artificial limbs for war victims.
The UNHCR played no role in the evacuation Monday, although the U.N. peacekeeping force helped with security.
Adis lost his leg in an explosion in June 1993. His family didn’t think he could get care abroad until doctors gave his name to Sarajevo’s Jewish community.
″I’m not happy to be divided from my children,″ said his father, Asim, a soldier in the Bosnian army. ″But what can I do? There is no alternative.″
Asked about his feelings that Israel volunteered to help his Muslim child, Alihodzic said, ″They are all good people.″
Adis and the other four children, who also need prostheses or corrective surgery on their legs, will stay in Israel for about two months. They are to return every year for check-ups and new fittings.