MINGORA, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police have arrested a number of suspects in the case of a 14-year-old girl shot and wounded by the Taliban for promoting education for girls and criticizing the fundamentalist Islamic movement, officials said Friday.
The shooting of Malala Yousufzai along with two classmates while they were on their way home from school Tuesday horrified people in Pakistan and internationally. It has been followed by an outpouring of support for a girl who earned the enmity of the Taliban for publicizing their acts and speaking about the importance of education for girls.
Mingora police chief Afzal Khan Afridi said arrests had been made, but he declined to give any details about the number of people detained or what role they're suspected of having in the shooting. He said he did not want to endanger the ongoing investigation.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters Friday that the two gunmen who staged the attack were not among those arrested, but he said investigators had identified the masterminds of the shooting and efforts were under way to capture all those involved.
The Taliban spokesman, Sirajuddin Ahmad, said Yousufzai's family had been warned three times — the most recent warning coming last week — before the decision was made to kill her.
Ahmad said local Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah and his deputies selected three attackers, including two trained sharpshooters, who carefully studied the girl's route home from school.
One of those arrested was a woman identified as Naheed Bibi, who was married to Fazlullah and had been sent by him to the valley to help reactivate militant sleeping cells there, the officials added.
Her interrogation led security officials to over 60 telephone numbers of SIM cards she and her aides had bought in various northwestern cities. By monitoring all the numbers, authorities rounded up the militants — including several would-be suicide bombers — and a large number of weapons and explosives was also seized, the officials said.http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/worl ... t/1631003/