Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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IRAQ: With a heart

January 22, 2008 |  8:04 pm

A 2-year-old Iraqi girl with a life-threatening heart defect was flown by Marine helicopter to the Jordanian border Tuesday to meet U.S. officials and medical personnel who will escort her to the U.S. for surgery.

Marines from the 3rd battalion, 23rd regiment, a reservist group with headquarters in New Orleans, encountered Amina Ala Thabit while patrolling in Haditha. The girl's feet and lips turn blue with the slightest exertion.

The Marines, part of Regimental Combat Team 5, initiated the trip with help from the State and Homeland Security departments. Amina and her mother will be flown to Nashville, where the surgery will be performed for free at Vanderbilt University Hospital.

—Tony Perry in Haditha, Iraq