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June 24, 2017

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Pakistan medics remove bullet from shot 14-year-old activist

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Pakistani doctors on Wednesday removed a bullet from a 14-year-old child campaigner shot by the Taliban in a horrific attack condemned by national leaders and rights activists.

Malala Yousafzai, 14, is in intensive care after being shot in the head in broad daylight on a school bus on Tuesday, in an assassination attempt that has appalled a country where thousands have died at the hands of Islamist extremists.

She underwent surgery to remove the bullet lodged near her shoulder at the Combined Military Hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar, where doctors described her condition as critical.

Preparations were made to fly her abroad, but a military source told AFP she was currently too ill to travel.

Doctors earlier confirmed the bullet had been removed from her shoulder and Interior Minister Rehman Malik said she would remain in Peshawar until medics agreed she could be moved.

"Malala is our pride. She became an icon for the country. I pray that she lives a healthy and long life," Malik said.

There has been shock and revulsion in Pakistan, where schoolchildren across the country on Wednesday offered prayers for her recovery. Private schools in Swat closed on Wednesday as a mark of solidarity with Malala and children will hold special ceremonies on Thursday to pray for her.

The powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani visited Malala on Wednesday and said it was time to "further unite and stand up to fight the propagators of such barbaric mindset and their sympathizers."

"She has become a symbol for the values that the army, with the nation behind it, is fighting to preserve for our future generations," he said.

"We wish to bring home a simple message: We refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost, we will prevail inshallah (God willing)."

Pakistan's lower house of parliament on Wednesday suspended normal proceedings to condemn the attack and pray for her recovery.

"Malala Yousafzai is a role model for all Pakistan and we should stand united to fight the elements that attacked the 14-year-old girl," said Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

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