A teen activist who was shot by Taliban militants for promoting women’s rights to education is now in critical condition at a Peshawar hospital. Malala Yousafzai was said to be in stable condition after the attack in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, but doctors downgraded her condition to critical about 24 hours after surgeons removed a bullet from her neck. The 14-year-old is also battling edema, a condition in which part of the body swells because of abnormal fluid accumulation.
Authorities reportedly plan to move Yousafzai to a military hospital in Rawalpindi. Meanwhile, officials say police have identified the gunman responsible for the shooting. No arrests have been made.
The shooting occurred Tuesday when gunmen stopped a school bus carrying Yousafzai and two other female students. They opened fire after demanding to know which girl was Yousafzai. Yousafzai was hit once in the neck and once in the head. The other girls were wounded, but their injuries are not life-threatening.
“She wanted to make our women leave their homes for secular education, something the Taliban will never permit," said Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan.
“This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter,” Ahsan added. “We have carried out this attack."
The Taliban vowed to kill Yousafzai if she survives.
Yousafzai, who previously won Pakistan’s National Peace Prize, kept an online diary about her activism. In numerous entries she expressed her fear of the Taliban.
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