updated 6/15/2010 4:22:30 PM ET 2010-06-15T20:22:30

Iraqi conjoined twins were to be flown in coming days to Saudi Arabia to undergo separation surgery after the Saudi king offered to pay for the operation, officials said Tuesday.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

The two-week-old twins Zainab and Ruqqaya Naseer, from the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq, are joined at the hip and have problems with their digestive and reproductive systems.

Salim Mohammed, spokesman for Najaf Health Authority, told The Associated Press that the family was waiting for passports to be issued to allow the girls to travel.

"The conjoined twins are in good health and they are expected to leave for Saudi Arabia within the coming three days," he said.

Saudi King Abdullah offered to fly the twins, who were born on June 5, to Riyadh and to pay for the separation surgery, according to a statement by chief surgeon Abdullah al-Rabia at the King Abdul-Aziz Medical in Riyadh.

Al-Rabia has performed nearly 30 successful surgeries for conjoined twins from 16 countries. Those included another set of Iraqi conjoined twins who were separated after 20 hours of surgery in 2006.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments