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Australian Surgeons Fit Robotic Legs to Islamic State Bomb Victim


FILE - Lisa Calan, 28, who lost both her legs at an explosion, casts her vote in Diyarbakir, in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, Nov. 1, 2015. She is walking after receiving pioneering robotic surgery in Australia.

A young Kurdish filmmaker who lost both legs in a terrorist attack in Turkey is walking after receiving pioneering robotic surgery in Australia. Lisa Calan was among dozens of people injured when Islamic State militants bombed a Kurdish political rally in June 2015. Her Iraqi-born surgeon says his work to help victims of terrorism is an act of resistance against fundamentalism.

Five people were killed when Islamic State militants bombed a Kurdish political rally in southeastern Turkey two-and-a-half years ago. More than 100 were injured, including Lisa Calan, a 29-year-old Kurdish filmmaker. She lost both legs above the knee in the blast.

FILE - Lisa Calan on her wheelchair while being interviewed by Turkish reporters at her home five months after the Diyarbakir bombing that cost her two legs, Diyarbakir, Turkey, Oct. 2015.
FILE - Lisa Calan on her wheelchair while being interviewed by Turkish reporters at her home five months after the Diyarbakir bombing that cost her two legs, Diyarbakir, Turkey, Oct. 2015.

She is able to walk again on robotic prosthetics after a ground-breaking operation in Sydney that inserted metal implants directly into her leg bones.

The operation took seven hours. The surgeons worked for free, and the Kurdish community in Australia raised about $400,000 for other medical and travel expenses.

Munjid al-Muderis, an Iraqi born surgeon, said he used a pioneering technique to help Calan walk again.

"What we did for Lisa is implanting integration devices into her skeleton. It is cutting-edge technology that represents an implantable device into the medullary cavity of the femur made of high tensile-strength titanium to penetrate the skin through a small opening and is connected to a robotic leg," he said.

Al-Muderis arrived in Australia by boat as a refugee in 1990. He spent 10 months in immigration detention before being granted asylum. He has become one of Australia's most accomplished orthopedic surgeons, and regularly returns to Iraq to operate on victims of terrorism.

On a recent visit, he helped to perform surgery on 190 people in 17 days. All the patients had been wounded in militant attacks.

Al-Muderis said his work is an act of resistance against fundamentalist ideologies.

Calan has returned home to Turkey and is recovering well. A recent video showed her dancing on her new robotic limbs.

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