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Mum tells of ‘dark clouds’ looming over conjoined twins

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the Benhaffaf conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein (13 weeks old)Location: Radisson Hotel, Little Island, Co Cork, IrelandPhoto: Stefan Syrowatka, www.syro.net, stefan@syro.net, 00353 857548646.

the Benhaffaf conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein (13 weeks old)Location: Radisson Hotel, Little Island, Co Cork, IrelandPhoto: Stefan Syrowatka, www.syro.net, stefan@syro.net, 00353 857548646.

Stefan Syrowatka

the Benhaffaf conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein (13 weeks old)Location: Radisson Hotel, Little Island, Co Cork, IrelandPhoto: Stefan Syrowatka, www.syro.net, stefan@syro.net, 00353 857548646.

The mother of conjoined Irish twin boys Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf has spoken of the “dark clouds” over their recovery from a marathon 14-hour separation surgery earlier this month.

But Angie Benhaffaf said an emotional ‘thank you' last night as the first medical update since the boys were separated in a London hospital confirmed they are making daily progress.

A spokesman at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSCH) in London confirmed that the four-month-old Cork boys are making “daily progress” and in a stable condition, though they are still in intensive care.

“The surgical team had always anticipated a substantial period of recovery from this major surgery. They are broadly where the medical team expected them to be at this point,” the GOSCH spokes-man added.

The boys, who were joined at the chest and did not share any major organs, were separated on April 7 following a 14-hour operation supervised by Cork-born surgeon Dr Edward Kiely.

The hospital declined to comment further yesterday and would not be drawn on how much longer the two boys will have to remain in the intensive care unit or in the hospital.

However, their mother Angie revealed that bags of mail are being delivered to GOSCH daily from well-wishers, supporters and fellow parents throughout Ireland and Britain.

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Angie, who has been living in London for the past month with her husband Azzedine and two older daughters, Malika (4) and Iman (2), said the overwhelming support of the Irish people has helped the family get through the ordeal of the twins' surgery.

“The past two weeks have been extremely tough for our ‘little fighters' and for me, Az and the girls,” she explained. “Even though the sun has shone since their |separation, we've also had dark clouds that hovered over their little cots in intensive care and brought difficult days for them.

“Both Hassan and Hussein have been through so much.

“We know there is still a long journey ahead. As parents, we sometimes feel helpless.”

The supervising surgeon, Dr Kiely, has been based at GOSCH since the mid-1980s and is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on separating conjoined twins.

Angie and Azzedine are now spending every day at GOSCH in vigil.

The Benhaffafs are living in an apartment complex just off Queen's Square, only metres from the hospital.

They may have to stay in London until at least July, when it is hoped the twins will be healthy enough to return home.

The plight of the Benhaffafs has caught the imagination of the public in Ireland and Britain over the past few weeks — with the success of the separation procedure earning headlines on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky TV.

ITV is now planning a special documentary via its Tonight programme, after agreeing an exclusive access deal with the family.


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