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Two girls shot in head in Chicago

Kanair Gentry-Bowers (left) and Takiya Holmes were both shot in Chicago's South Side this weekend Image copyright ABC/ Family handout
Image caption Kanair Gentry-Bowers (left) and Takiya Holmes were both shot in Chicago's South Side this weekend

Two young girls were shot in the head over the weekend in Chicago in separate incidents, leaving both in a critical condition in hospital.

The shootings, which occurred about 30 minutes apart, happened on Chicago's South Side, an area which has been plagued by gun violence for years.

Takiya Holmes, 11, was sitting in her family's minivan when she was shot.

Kanari Gentry-Bowers, 12, was hit while playing basketball at her primary school's playground.

Both girls are in a critical condition in hospital, and family members say they are each fighting for their lives.

This past weekend in Chicago 27 people were shot and injured and five more were killed in violent attacks around the city.

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Media captionLife and death on the lost streets of Chicago

Takiya, who is currently on life-support, was in the backseat of a vehicle with her mother and little brother when shots rang out around 19:40 local time on Saturday.

The girl, who police said was not the intended target, was hit in the back of the head.

Minutes earlier, Kanari was shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire at the Henderson Elementary School school playground, where she studied.

"She was just playing basketball outside and I guess a car came up and got to shooting and shot her in the back of her head," Rochetta Tyler, Kanari's cousin, said through tears.

Neither perpetrator has been arrested so far, police say.

The families of both girls have appealed for them to turn themselves into police.

Last year was Chicago's most violent in 20 years.

In 2016 more than 4,300 shootings and 762 murders were recorded by the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

More than 400 shootings have been recorded in 2017 so far, they report.

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