Boy Headed Back to Iraq After U.S. Surgeries Repair His Injured Body

An 11-year-old boy injured by a landmine in Najaf, Iraq, is headed back home with his sight and a new arm, thanks to a team of American doctors.

Hussein Yasser was just 8 when a landmine exploded in a cemetery near his grandfather's gravesite, burning the boy over a third of his body and obliterating his left hand and right eye. The boy, who was visiting his grandfather's grave when the landmine hit, says it's a miracle he survived.

"I died but after two minutes I came back to life and they didn't do anything," Hussein said. "They just put me on a bed and wrapped me up and I just came back to life."

Johanna Ricketts, the executive director of Healing the Children in Phoenix, Ariz., learned about his case from the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. Iraqi doctors had operated on Hussein 10 times with varying success.

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"We thought we could do just a few things to make him feel better," Ricketts said. "But it was very clear from the get-go that he needed more than we anticipated."

She arranged to have Hussein flown to the United States in November, 2005, where a team of 19 doctors at Phoenix Children's Hospital began a series of surgeries to repair his body.

Hussein underwent a corneal transplant on his left eye, reconstructive surgery on his left eye socket and was outfitted with an artificial arm. He had two subsequent eye surgeries, and dentists also repaired his teeth.

During his 15 month medical ordeal, he lived with Raymond and Debra Karam. He attended a Phoenix elementary school and became nearly fluent in English.

"Hussein, obviously, is a very special boy and a special individual and I think he really brings out the humanity in all of us in the sense that he's been through so much and it was a privilege to be able to help him," said Dr. Davinder Singh.

Hussein has kept in touch with family each week and is eager to teach his five siblings English when he returns to Najaf "if they will listen."

Doctors say his eye will have to be checked on a few times a year and he'll have to continue to use steroid drops to prevent a rejection of his cornea.

FOX News' Jonathan Hunt and The Associated Press contributed to this story.