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Hasan Khazaal enjoys a rare quiet monent with (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal enjoys a rare quiet monent with nephew Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 20, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal, uncle of Iraqi burn victim

He is barely an adult himself, but 21-year-old Hasan Khazaal has taken on the daunting task of bringing his 3-year-old nephew from Iraq to the U.S. for life-changing surgery. They arrived April 21, and young Zeenabdeen Hadi will spend months getting plastic surgery to repair damage from the burns he received in attacks at his home city of Dujail, just north of Baghdad.

Hasan Khazaal enjoys a rare quiet monent with
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal enjoys a rare quiet monent with nephew Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 20, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal has great patience when it come
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal has great patience when it come to caring for his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, the Iraqi boy who came to the United States to undergo several operations. They are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park.

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4.
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4. The Iraqi boy ccme to Long Island for extensive reconstructive surgery. He will remain here for the next several months, staying with his uncle, who is 20, in a Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 19, 2011)

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Hasan Khazaal lets his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4,
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal lets his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, know he cannot play with him endlessly while staying at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. Beyond the goal of rebuilding the boy's face, doctors have to close a wound in his forehead that could expose his brain to infection. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. The
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. The boy had been hurt a few weeks before his first birthday when a car bomb exploded outside his home in Dujail, 40 miles north of Baghdad long beset by sectarian strife. The explosion sent a live wire from a utility pole snaking across Zeenabdeen's face, burning his flesh down to the bone. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal shows signs of fatigue after running
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal shows signs of fatigue after running around with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, in the playground at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal with nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. Khazaal said
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal with nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. Khazaal said Zeenabdeen's injuries were so grave that Zeenabdeen's parents eventually would conclude it would have been better to let him die. The lower portion of his face was burned to the bone, and all but the corners of his lips were gone. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal catching memories on camera while photographing
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal catching memories on camera while photographing his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, and another Iraqi boy who lost his arm in Iraq. They are both staying at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 19, 2011)

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Hasan Khazaal and his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. A
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal and his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. A charity, Global Medical Relief Fund helped fund Zeenabdeen's surgery. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal with nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. Khazaal dropped
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal with nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. Khazaal dropped out of high school and threw himself at the task of providing a life for his nephew as an uncle, a father, and the bearer of hope that Zeenabdeen might one day recover. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew Zeenabdeen Hadi. Over
(Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew Zeenabdeen Hadi. Over the course of several months, and if all goes well, the doctor performing the surgery will graft tissue from other parts of Zeenabdeen's body to repair his damaged face.

Hasan Khazaal dresses his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4,
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal dresses his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, at the during their stay at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal enjoys a light monent with his
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal enjoys a light monent with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4. Zeenabdeen's doctor will also use surgical balloons to expand Zeenabdeen's face, then restore it to its normal size by cutting away the scars. (May 19, 2011)

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Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. In
(Credit: Newsday / . Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi. In the aftermath of the explosion, Khazaal said he persuaded American soldiers at a compound about 200 yards from his home to take his nephew to a military hospital at nearby Balad Air Base. There, doctors performed more than 20 surgeries on the child over four months, including one during which they used screws to affix his right forearm and bicep to his lips and jaw so that skin would seed new skin on his face. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4.
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal with his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4. War and violence has been with Zeenabdeen all his life. On the day he was born - April 25, 2007 - at least 44 Iraqi citizens were killed in war-related violence, according the website Iraq Body Count, which tallies deaths reported in the media. Car bombs, suicide attacks, sectarian murders and errant military strikes claimed thousands of lives that year. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal comforts his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4,
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal comforts his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, in the evening hours while staying at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 19, 2011)

Hasan Khazaal listens to his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi,
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Hasan Khazaal listens to his nephew, Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 20, 2011)

Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, has a quiet moment at
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Zeenabdeen Hadi, 4, has a quiet moment at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. (May 20, 2011)

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