By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) - A Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education has been discharged from a British hospital after doctors said she was well enough to spend time recovering with her family.
Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban in October and brought to Britain for treatment, was discharged on Thursday but is due to be re-admitted in late January or early February for reconstructive surgery to her skull, doctors said.
The shooting of Yousufzai, in the head at point blank range as she left school in the Swat valley, drew widespread international condemnation.
She has become a an internationally recognized symbol of resistance to the Taliban's efforts to deny women education and other rights, and more than 250,000 people have signed online petitions calling for her to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.
Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where Yousufzai was treated said that although the bullet hit her left brow, it did not penetrate her skull but instead travelled underneath the skin along the side of her head and into her neck.
She was treated by doctors specializing in neurosurgery, trauma and other disciplines in a department of the hospital which has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery," said Dave Rosser, the hospital's medical director.
"Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home."
Yousufzai has already been leaving the hospital on a regular basis on "home leave" in recent weeks to spend time with her parents and younger brothers, who have a temporary home in central England, Rosser said.
"During those visits assessments have been carried out by her medical team to ensure she can continue to make good progress outside the hospital," Rosser said.
Yousufzai's father said in October he was sure she would "rise again" to pursue her dreams after medical treatment.
(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)