Teen dies stopping suicide bomber at school in Pakistan
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
- 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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 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.