Northern Ireland news

Video: Tom Hanks records video for Co Cork twins separated by surgery following conjoined birth

Former conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, pictured after surgery to separate them in 2010. The Co Cork twins are with parents Azzedine and Angie, and sisters Malika and Iman. Picture by Conor Healy.
Paul Ainsworth

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks has recorded a personal video for a pair of Co Cork twins who were conjoined at birth.

Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf were born in 2009, and were separated in a surgical procedure the following year.

The boys, from Carrigtwohill, are fans of Disney/Pixar animated franchise Toy Story, and the owner of an ice cream parlour in the resort of Yougha, with contacts in Hollywood got in touch with Hanks, who voices the cowboy character of Woody in the hugely popular movies.

He agreed to record a video greeting for the boys, who have endured several more surgeries and health problems since their separation.

Miceal O’Hurley. who alongside his film industry connections once worked in the US Congress, praised the boys' parents, Angie and Azzedine Benhaffaf, for the "extraordinary" work they do in looking after their children.

Speaking of the video, which was posted to Hanks' YouTube account, Mr O'Hurley said: "Tom wanted the boys to know that he admires them and wants to be their friend. He has got millions of fans. To think that he recognised two little Irish fans enough to write, direct, and produce a little film just for them. They will always have this."

He added: "Next time the boys are feeling low or stuck in a hospital bed they can flip on a video and be reminded that they are special. This is about lifting their spirits."

Tom Hanks in a video posted to YouTube in which he greets Toy Story fans Hassan and Hussein.

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