January 09, 2014

Tributes to brave teenager who died stopping a suicide bomber at Pakistan school

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

A 15-year-old boy has been hailed as a national hero after giving his own life to stop a suicide bomber at a school in Pakistan.

Aitzaz Hasan challenged the man, who was wearing a suicide vest, and grabbed him. But the bomber managed to detonate his vest and the brave schoolboy died of his injuries.

There were nearly 2000 children in the school at Ibrahimzai in the Hangu region of north-western Pakistan when the attacked happened on Monday.

Aitzaz's actions have been praised throughout Pakistan and across the world. There have been calls for him to receive a posthumous bravery award - and on Twitter people have been paying tribute using the hashtags #onemillionaitzaz and #AitzazBraveheart.

The boy's courage has been likened to that of Malala Yousafzai, who has been campaigning for global education after being shot by the Taliban on a school bus in Pakistan in 2012. Four million people have pledged to stand with her to build A World at School by 2015

Aitzaz's cousin Mudassar Hassan Bangish told the BBC: "My cousin sacrificed his life saving his school and hundreds of students and school fellows.

"The suicide bomber wanted to destroy the school and school students. It was my cousin who stopped him from this...destruction."

Aitzaz's father Mujahid Ali told Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper: "My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children.

"There are a handful of people in the world who are martyrs. I am now one of those proud fathers whose son is among them."

Aitzaz was standing outside the school with friends when the bomber approached and they spotted a detonator. The militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack, said the Express Tribune.

Suicide attacks in Pakistan have been on the increase. A report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies said they had risen by 39% in 2013 to a total of 46.

 

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