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Giffords makes return to home town

Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has visited her hometown, visiting Tucson for Father's Day weekend in her first time back since she was shot in January.

Ms Giffords was released from a Houston hospital on Wednesday, five months after being shot in the head during a Tucson political event. She had been in the rehab facility since late January, a few weeks after the shooting that killed six and wounded 13.

"We've been dreaming of this trip for some time," Ms Giffords' astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, said in a news release.

"Gabby misses Tucson very much and her doctors have said that returning to her hometown could play an important role in her recovery."

Mr Kelly said the trip "is sure to be very emotional" and hopes the news media respects their privacy.

Ms Giffords spokesman CJ Karamargin said the Democratic congresswoman travelled by private plane from Houston to Tucson with Mr Kelly and one of his daughters and she will spend Father's Day weekend with her family.

According to a Twitter posting from her staff, Ms Giffords' plane landed in Tucson on Friday evening.

"Wheels down Tucson. Gabrielle and Mark looking forward to a beautiful weekend," the tweet said.

Ms Giffords will make no public appearances and will grant no interviews during her visit to Tucson, according to Mr Karamargin.

She has left Houston twice since she arrived there in January, first in late April for Mr Kelly's space shuttle launch. When the launch was scrubbed for mechanical reasons, she returned to Florida again for the successful May 16 launch.

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