Parents pray for 'little fighters' as date set for twins' separation
THE parents of Ireland's conjoined twins are praying for their "little fighters" ahead of their separation operation.
Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf will undergo surgery in London on April 7.
The three-and-a-half-month-old twins attended an informal naming ceremony at the weekend at Go Safari indoor play centre in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, with their parents Angie and Azzedine and the couple's other two children Malika (4) and Iman (2).
The event was organised to celebrate the boys' progress.
Emotional mum Angie confirmed she had received a date for the separation operation for her boys. She appealed to the public to keep her beloved sons in their thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks.
"It will be our little fighters' final battle. We would ask everyone to keep them in their thoughts and prayers. It will come as a shock I guess to people that it has come on us so fast. But as difficult as it is to say, we have been given the date of the seventh of April for the boys' separation."
Angie and Algerian-born Azzedine are overwhelmed at the level of support the general public has given them. Their appearance on the 'Late Late Show' triggered a massive flood of support from the public and dozens of fundraising events and activities for which Angie says she is extremely grateful.
"It has been an amazing journey. We have met some wonderful people along the way. The whole country has given us support that has totally overwhelmed us. Today is their naming day which was a very special day for us because we never thought we would get to this stage."
The family will leave for London on March 21 to prepare for the twins' major operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Leading the surgical team for their separation is Cork-born paediatric surgeon Edward Kiely. Mr Kiely said the survival rate at Great Ormond Street Hospital for planned separations where the children are stable and separation can be done at a suitable time is about 80pc.