Malala's Plotters Captured After Two Year Hunt

PHOTO: Pakistani teenager and education activist Malala Yousafzai talks to Amy Robach on Good Morning America, Aug. 18, 2014. PlayIda Mae Astute/ABC
WATCH Diane Sawyer Sits Down With the Inspirational Malala Yousafzai

The terrorist gang that plotted the attempted assassination of teenager Malala Yousafzai on a school bus has been arrested after a nearly two year search.

The 10 terrorists confessed to Pakistani authorities that they were in the process of planning the murders of 22 other people at the time of their capture, Pakistani authorities said. The arrests were announced today but it remains unclear when exactly they were taken into custody.

An army spokesman said that the group was a known offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban.

The teen's father Ziauddin Yousafzai put out a statement calling the arrests "good news for our family and most importantly for the people of Pakistan and the civilized world."

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"This first step of apprehending Malala’s attackers signifies the beginning of real hope for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been affected by terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in Swat and the whole country," the father's statement read. "This is the beginning of the real restoration of the writ of the government, where the rule of law and justice prevails for everybody."

Yousafzai was 15 when two armed men, Israr ur Rehman and Izhar Ullah, stopped her school van while dropping children off on Oct. 9, 2012. After identifying Yousafzai, who had become an activist for educating girls, one of the men fired at her head with a 9mm pistol. They shot two other girls, Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan, during the attack but neither were injured as gravely as Yousafzai.

The Taliban is opposed to educating girls and has destroyed schools and killed teachers who educate girls.

PHOTO: Diane Sawyer conducts the first television interview with Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban in October 2012 because she believed girls should have the right to go to school.Nick Ray/ABC
Diane Sawyer conducts the first television interview with Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban in October 2012 because she believed girls should have the right to go to school.

Rehman was the first of the criminals to be apprehended by the joint task force comprised of local and state authorities. He confessed to his involvement and gave the names of the other members of the terrorist group, called Shura, that were involved with the planning of the attack, authorities said today.

He revealed that the group was run by Zafar Iqbal, a furniture shop owner who allegedly passed hit lists of names to an associate named Mullah Fazlullah.

During interrogation, the terrorists revealed that the plan was conceived by Fazlullah, and the Shura group was given the responsibility to execute it. The group also confessed its involvement in murder of Abdul Rasheed, watchman of Swat College of Science and Technology, in November 2012.

PHOTO: Malala YousufzaiQueen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/AP Photo
Malala Yousufzai

Fazlullah was also said to be the one who came up with the new list of 22 targets that the men were planning to kill at the time of their arrest. The names of these targets have not been released.

Fazlullah, who has since been chosen to head the Pakistani Taliban, is not in custody.

Malala Yousafzai survived the assassination attempt after being treated in the United Kingdom. She has become an international activist and was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.

In her first televised interview, the then-16-year-old told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that she had spent time before the shooting thinking about what she would say to potential attackers.

"I would tell that man 'I want education for your daughter,'" she said.

"I thought that words and books and pens are more powerful than gun."