Conjoined twins born in the besieged Gaza Strip and sent to Saudi Arabia for separation are in critical condition, a Saudi hospital spokesman said on Wednesday.
Less than two weeks old, Ritaj and Rittal Abu Assi arrived Tuesday at the King Abdulaziz Medical City hospital in Riyadh, which has a centre specialising in conjoined twins.
But a hospital spokesman said their condition was still too poor to decide on moving ahead, and that their conjoined heart had a "serious defect" which posed a big problem for any surgery.
"Tests confirmed that the condition of the twins Rittal and Ritaj is very critical and their health is not stable," said hospital spokesman Sami al-Shalan.
Doctors "are still studying the case," and are waiting to see if their condition improves, he added.
The twins were allowed to leave Gaza Tuesday through Egypt and were flown to Riyadh under the sponsorship of King Abdullah.
The Gazan twins' case is particularly difficult however, Shalan said.
"They are conjoined at the heart, two hearts joined as one heart, and there is a big defect in the heart. This is inseparable," he said.
The twins were born on March 27 in the Gaza city of Khan Younis, where available medical facilities were inadequate for their case.
They were examined on arrival in Riyadh by a medical team including Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah, who has personally carried out many of the separation surgeries undertaken at King Abdulaziz Medical City.
Formerly known as the National Guard Hospital, the hospital has handled 58 conjoined twin cases since 1990, successfully separating 25, Shalan said.