UK police on alert to protect shot teen
Oct 16, 2012 / 6:49 am
British police questioned two people Tuesday at a hospital where a teenage Pakistani activist is recovering after being shot, raising fears about the girl's safety amid pledges by the Taliban to finish the job.
Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai was shot in the head by the Taliban last week as she was returning home from school in Pakistan. She was airlifted Monday to Britain to receive specialized medical care and protection from follow-up attacks threatened by the militants.
The attack on Malala, who campaigns for girls' right to education, horrified people in Pakistan and across the world.
Medical Director Dave Rosser of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham stressed Tuesday that security was "under control" at the hospital after the overnight incident. He said several people had turned up at the hospital claiming to be the girl's relatives but didn't get very far.
He said the people were arrested, but police said they had only been questioned.
"We don't believe there's any threat to her personal security," Rosser told journalists, explaining the hospital did not believe the suspects were related to Malala. "We think it's probably people being over-curious."
Police would not immediately confirm the details of the incident.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik has announced a $1 million bounty for Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan, saying he was the one who announced that the Taliban carried out the attack on Malala.
Malala was targeted by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticizing the militant group's behaviour when they took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived. Two of her classmates were also wounded in the attack and are receiving treatment in Pakistan.
The Taliban has threatened to target Malala until she is killed because she promotes "Western thinking."
Rosser said Malala is proving to be strong so far, but did not elaborate about her recovery.
Doctors are optimistic that Malala's age is in her favour. Unlike adults, the brains of teenagers are still growing and better able to adapt to trauma.
Teens also are generally healthier and their bodies have a stronger ability to react to the disruption that the injury causes, said Dr. Jonathan Fellus, chief scientific officer at the New Jersey-based International Brain Research Foundation.
"You don't have a bullet go through your brain and have a full recovery," Fellus said.
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