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Suspects arrested in Pakistan teen's shooting

11:38 AM, Oct 12, 2012   |    comments
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Police in Pakistan say they have arrested two suspects in the shooting of a 14-year-old girl and are looking for a third who is being called the mastermind of the attack, NBC News reports.

NBC News quotes police in the volatile Swat Valley area, where Malala Yousafzai was shot while leaving school on Tuesday In Mingora, as saying the suspects are 17 and 22 years of age.

The pair claim that a man named "Attaulah" is the mastermind of the attack and remains at large.

Update at 11:08 a.m. ET: The Associated Press also reports the arrest of suspects, quoting Mingora police chief Afzal Khan Afridi. But the AP says the police would not provide any details on the number of people detained or what role they allegedly played.

In another development, Taliban spokesman, Sirajuddin Ahmad, says Malala and her family had been warned three times -- as recently as last week -- before the militants took a decision to execute the 14-year-old, the AP reports.

Ahmad says local Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah and his deputies selected three attackers, including two trained snipers, who carefully studied the girl's route home from school.

Original post: The BBC reports that local officials have offered a $105,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the attackers.

Malala was shot by Taliban gunmen angry over her outspoken support for the rights of women and girls, particularly regarding education. Two others girls were injured in the shooting.

Malala, who has been transferred to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, is being kept unconscious and on a ventilator, says Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, the Associated Press reports.

"Her blood pressure is normal. Heartbeat is normal, and thanks to God, her condition is satisfactory," Bajwa says.

He says a bullet entered her head and went into her neck toward her spine, but it was too soon to say whether she had any significant head injury.

READ: Excerpt from Malala's blog on the Taliban

Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's foreign minister, says Malala's shooting -- and the Taliban's justification for it -- has been "rejected by all Pakistanis," CNN reports.

The BBC says Indian Prime Minister Raja Pervaz Ashraf is expected to visit her today, the BBC reports.

At age 11, Malala drew international attention for writing a blog for the BBC Urdu service in which she described life under the Taliban, which took over her city and ordered girls' schools closed in 2007. Her articles also led to her nomination for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2011.

Meanwhile, her school in Mingora, which is owned and operated by her father, reopened today under heavy police presence, the AP reports, but many students stayed away.

Zafar Ali Kahn, one of the teachers, says the staff decided to open the school "to overcome the fear among our students that gripped them due to the attack."

Khan says they did not resume regular teaching, rather they chose to hold an assembly to pray for Malala and two other girls injured in the attack.

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