A 14-year-old has died after protecting his classmates from a suicide bomber. Aitazaz Hassan Bangash was walking to school in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, when he was approached by a stranger asking for directions. Although the suspect was wearing a school uniform, the teen was suspicious.
Aitazaz’s cousin, Musadiq Ali Bangash, said several students were gathered outside the school when the suspect approached. Although most of the students ran away, Aitazaz questioned the suspect about his intentions.
As reported by CNN, the suspect continued to approach the school. Fearing for the lives of his classmates, Aitazaz eventually chased the suspect and attempted to push him to the ground. At some point during the struggle, the suspect detonated the bomb.
The 14-year-old and the suicide bomber were both killed in the explosion. Witnesses report that two others were injured in the blast. However, the extent of their injuries is unknown.
Musadiq said his cousin’s sacrifice saved hundreds of children who were gathered at the school for an assembly. Residents throughout Pakistan are calling the teen a hero who deserves formal recognition.
Resident Nawaz Khan compared Aitazaz to Malala Yousafzai, who was injured in a 2012 Taliban attack:
“He saved the lives of hundreds of students. He deserves more recognition than Malala Yousafzai.”
New York Daily News reports Mujahid Ali Bangash is proud that his son bravely defended his fellow classmates:
“I am happy that my son has become a martyr by sacrificing his life for a noble cause… Many people are coming to see me but if they try to express sympathy, I tell them to congratulate me instead on becoming the father of a martyr.”
Although the 14-year-old was killed by the suicide bomber, Mujahid said his son’s sacrifice is a great honor. The identity of the bomber has not been released.
[Image via Wikimedia]