Giffords steps down a year after Arizona shooting

Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords

The Jewish congresswoman who was severely injured by a gunman in Tucson a year ago has announced that she will be leaving public life for the foreseeable future.

Gabrielle Giffords, who has held her Arizona seat since 2007, was shot in the head at close range at a political event last January. Six people lost their lives during the attack, with a further 13 left seriously injured.

Ms Giffords has made an astonishing recovery since, and was able to return to C ongress for a vote in August.

But she said that she had more work to do on her recovery and would therefore be stepping down this week.

"I'm getting better," she said. "Every day my spirit is high. I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."

Before the attack Ms Giffords had been tipped as a rising star of the Democratic Party.

Colleagues in Washington paid tribute to her strength and wished her well in her recovery. "We look forward to the occasion when we can welcome her back to public life," said the National Jewish Democratic Council.

    Last updated: 11:03am, January 23 2012