Skip to main content

Teen dies stopping suicide bomber at school in Pakistan

By Zahir Shah Sherazi and Saima Mohsin, CNN
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ninth-grader Aitazaz Hassan Bangash was on his way to school, his cousin says
  • The bomber, dressed in a school uniform, asked for directions to the school, he says
  • "Aitazaz challenged the bomber and tried to catch him," and the bomb went off

(CNN) -- A 14-year-old boy is being hailed as a hero in Pakistan for tackling a suicide bomber -- dying at the main gate of his school and saving schoolmates gathered for their morning assembly.

Ninth-grader Aitazaz Hassan Bangash was on his way to the Ibrahimzai School on Monday in the Hangu district of northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when the bomber, dressed in a school uniform, asked him where the school was, the teen's cousin told CNN.

Aitazaz and his cousin, Musadiq Ali Bangash, became suspicious, Musadiq said.

"The other students backed off, but Aitazaz challenged the bomber and tried to catch him. During the scuffle, the bomber panicked and detonated his bomb," he said.

Rajab Ali, who also witnessed the bombing, told CNN that he saw Aitazaz throw a large stone at a boy trying to enter the school. The blast happened when Aitazaz grabbed him, he said.

Aitazaz and the bomber died at the scene. Witnesses say the blast injured two other people.

Journalist: Aitazaz's bravery gives hope

Iftikhar Ahmed, a Hangu district police officer, confirmed the details of the attack to CNN.

Hangu is a troubled district bordering Pakistan's tribal areas. It is rife with sectarian violence, with attacks against Shia and Sunni Muslims.

"It was a great sacrifice to save the lives of hundreds of both Shia and Sunni students, who were in morning assembly," Musadiq said.

Aitazaz is survived by his father, Mujaad Ali Bangash, a laborer; his elder brother, Mustajab Hassan Bangash, a student in Pakistan; and three sisters.

Local residents such as Nawaz Khan are calling for Aitazaz to receive a posthumous award for his bravery. "He saved the lives of hundreds of students. He deserves more recognition than Malala Yousafzai," he said.

Pakistanis are comparing him to Malala, the schoolgirl shot by the Taliban in October 2012 for promoting education for all boys and girls.

Pakistanis on social media are praising Aitazaz's bravery, with people on Twitter asking everyone to use hastags #onemillionaitzazs or simply #aitzaz and calling for his heroism to be recognized with an award.

Afghan girl says she was sent on a suicide mission

Suicide bomb kills 9 in Baghdad

CNN's Zahir Shah Sherazi reported from Peshawar, and Saima Mohsin reported from Islamabad.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT