1 of Iraqi conjoined twins dies after Saudi surgery

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia  — A Saudi surgeon said Saturday that one of the Iraqi twin girls flown to the kingdom for separation surgery last month has died.

The twins, Zainab and Ruqqaya Naseer, were born June 5 in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq. They were joined at the hip and had problems with their digestive and reproductive systems.

Saudi King Abdullah stepped in, flew the twins to Riyadh and paid for their surgery, which took place in mid-July.

Chief surgeon Abdullah al-Rabia said Ruqqaya had life-threatening defects, including a skull deformation and died on Saturday.

Al-Rabia has performed nearly 30 successful surgeries on conjoined twins from 16 countries, including separating another set of Iraqi conjoined twins in 2006.