Separated twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf are to leave hospital tomorrow.

he five-month-old boys, who were joined from the chest to the pelvis, were separated in a 14-hour operation at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gosh) last month.

They will spend time in a hospital in Cork, Ireland, before returning to their home nearby with parents Angie and Azzedine Benhaffaf and their older sisters.

In a statement, Mr and Mrs Benhaffaf said: "We are so relieved and so happy to announce that our little fighters are coming home tomorrow.

"All the prayers were answered and we thank God that it's all six of us returning home. Hassan and Hussein have gone through so much in their young lives already and now we hope that we can give them the happy future they both deserve.

"We again thank the public for their overwhelming love and support and the media for respecting our privacy and being so sensitive."

About 20 staff, including four anaesthetists and four surgeons, worked in shifts to separate the boys during the complex procedure.

The boys' hearts were not joined, but all of their other major organs, including their liver, gut and bladder, were and had to be separated. They have one leg each.

Their parents thanked staff at Gosh, Cork University Maternity Hospital and the University College Hospital, London, where the boys were born on December 2.

They added: "As tough as the past year has been for all of us, we feel so much good has come out of this experience.

"Hassan and Hussein have brought out the best in everyone and reminded us all of the things that are important in life, which is family, unconditional love and above all hope."

Consultant surgeon Edward Kiely, who led the team which separated the boys, said he was astonished at the speed of the boys' recovery.

He said: "For babies who are joined over such an extensive area, they have recovered much faster than is usually the case.

"I don't think we've ever been in a position to discharge babies like this within a couple of months. We're delighted."

The twins are expected to have a "relatively normal, healthy life", Mr Kiely added.

The Benhaffafs relocated their entire family, including daughters Malika, four, and two-year-old Iman, to London for the operation and recovery period.

Mr Kiely praised the family for their strength while the babies have been at Gosh.

He said: "The parents have shown great courage throughout. It's an awful business when you might lose two children all at once, so it's an extraordinarily difficult time for them. Obviously they are now very pleased."

The surgeon said he last saw the twins earlier today and described them as "two very independent little boys".

He added: "After any big operation, you're delighted to see children get better, and then you want to see them go home as soon as they're ready.

"You maintain some sort of follow up, but if they're okay then the intervals between follow-ups will get longer and longer."

A Gosh spokeswoman said: "After more than a month in hospital, the Benhaffaf family is in a position to return home for the first time since separation surgery took place.

"They are incredibly grateful for the huge amount of public goodwill that has been shown to their boys, but are understandably tired and as such would appreciate privacy upon their return. They are very much looking forward to spending quality time together as a family."