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Body of Yazidi child who died during surgery in Israel stuck at Ben Gurion Airport

The body of a Yazidi child who passed away at Hadassah Hospital after an attempt at life-saving surgery was stuck at Ben Gurion Airport, with the boy’s mother forced to fly to northern Iraq without it.

Seventeen-month-old Sineor was born to Yazidi refugees who fled the Islamic State when the group invaded the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq in 2014. The Islamic State heavily persecuted Iraq’s Yazidi minority, massacring thousands, enslaving others and causing hundreds of thousands to flee their home region.

The boy was diagnosed with multiple congenital heart defects and was in danger of dying without a series of complex operations. Hospitals in Iraqi Kurdistan are not capable of such procedures, and local volunteers connected his parents with Shevet Achim, a Jerusalem-based Christian organization that brings children from neighboring countries into Israel for heart surgery.

Despite the efforts to save his life, Sineor died on Monday after operations at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center Jerusalem.

“It was a complex surgery, and unfortunately he passed away after surgery,” said Alain Serraf, the veteran cardiac surgeon who performed the procedure.

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It was not clear why the boy’s body was not being allowed out of Israel, but it appeared that Maman Cargo, an Israeli logistics company, was refusing to allow Sineor’s body to be loaded onto a Royal Jordanian plane to Erbil via Amman, citing security concerns.

Doctors had put a pacemaker in the boy’s body, and some, including Shevet Achim founder Jonathan Miles, had speculated that this may have been the source of the problem. But when Serraf called Maman to explain that he had put in the pacemaker and there was no threat, he was told that the holdup was unrelated to the surgery.

Maman’s security officer told The Times of Israel that he does not speak to the press. The Shin Bet agency, responsible for domestic security, did not return calls.

Shevet Achim and the DHL shipping company were trying to find a solution to transport the body through Turkish Airlines.

The grieving mother has returned to Iraq, unable to bury her only child and with no indication of when his body will be allowed out of Israel.