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Twins Return to Egypt After Separation

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Egyptian twins born joined at the top of the head returned to their home country on Sunday, still wearing protective helmets two years after a successful surgery in the United States to separate them.

``The dream of my life, to hold each of them separately, has come true,'' their mother, Sabah Abu el-Wafa, told reporters after the family landed at Cairo's airport. ``I thank God for this miracle and thank everyone who helped us in Egypt and in the United States.''

Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim, 4, were born in a small town in southern Egypt and taken at age 1 to Dallas by the World Craniofacial Foundation, a Dallas-based nonprofit group that helps children with deformities of the head and face.

More than 50 medical personnel took part in the 34-hour separation surgery in October 2003 at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

Doctors had warned that the surgery could result in the deaths of one or both boys, but the family decided it was worth the risk to give the children a chance at a normal life.

Since then, the boys have undergone extensive therapy and had surgery to reconstruct their skulls.

Nasser Abdel Al, the twins' Egyptian doctor, said they will wear the helmets for several months. They also must undergo physical therapy before they return to the United States in 18 months for further checking.

Dr. Kenneth Salyer, the surgeon who founded the World Craniofacial Foundation, said Friday the two boys were coming along fine, and there were no additional operations planned.

Twins joined at the head occur only once in every 2 million live births.
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