Brave twins to get red-carpet treatment on return home
IRELAND is to roll out the red carpet for conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, who are recovering well in a London hospital after their marathon separation surgery.
Cork City Council has said that it will consider a special civic reception for the twins, their parents, Angie and Azzedine, and their sisters, Malika (4) and Iman (2), once the four-month-old boys are well enough to travel home.
President Mary McAleese has already sent her best wishes to the family -- and is understood to be eager to meet the twins and the Benhaffafs once the boys have fully recuperated from their surgery.
The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, has also been praying for the toddlers' full recovery.
The boys remained in a sedated but stable condition in the intensive care unit of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSCH) last night.
They were separated by surgeons in a 14-hour operation on Wednesday that featured 20 doctors and specialist nurses led by Cork-born professor Dr Edward Kiely.
The twins did not share any major organs -- and the surgery was six hours shorter than doctors had anticipated.
Angie and Azzedine issued a brief statement on Thursday saying: "They (the twins) have made the world a much better place for being in it."
GOSCH is not expected to issue any update on the their conditions until next week.
The Irish Independent understands that Hassan and Hussein are likely to remain in intensive care for at least the next week before they will be considered for transfer to a paediatric ward.
GOSCH has refused to comment on how long the twins will have to remain in the hospital, but it is expected to be between two and four months.
Angie and Azzedine have relocated their entire family to London and are living in special accommodation off Queen's Square just up the road from the hospital.
Angie and Azzedine -- who live in Carrigtwohill in east Cork -- have stressed that their dream is to take the boys back safe and healthy to their home.