Adel Termos has been hailed as a hero for his actions during ISIS attack in Beirut
He was killed when he threw himself at a suicide bomber approaching a mosque
His widow and father say his actions, potentially saving many lives, were a source of pride
The family of a man hailed as a hero for tackling a suspected ISIS suicide bomber during an attack in Beirut on Thursday, at the cost of his own life, say they feel immense pride at his actions.
“I am alive, and happy, and proud of my husband who held our family name up high and honored us,” Bassima Termos, the widow of Adel Termos, told CNN Monday.
“The kids and I are all doing fine. He made us proud, put our heads up high, what more do I need? He gave me dignity, pride, and respect.”
Adel Termos, a 32-year-old car mechanic and father of two, has been hailed for his heroism on social media, after he reportedly threw himself at the second suicide bomber approaching a mosque in the Bourj al-Barajneh district in southern Beirut, minutes after the first bomber struck.
Forty-three people were killed and 239 injured in the attacks, according to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency. Tributes on social media speculated that Termos had saved many lives through his sacrifice, by preventing the bomber from entering the crowded mosque.
“All our neighbors and the people of our town are so proud of him,” Bassima Termos told CNN. “The close ones and the friends, and the strangers … everyone is proud.”
‘Everyone calls him a hero’
Adel’s father, Akram Termos, told CNN that the explosion that killed his son occurred about 100 meters (330 feet) from his apartment.
His son had stopped by the mosque at about 5 p.m. for prayers on his way home from work, when the first bomber struck near the mosque.
Eyewitnesses to the attack, who had also been at the mosque, had described to him how events unfolded, he said.
“He and others at the mosque went to check out what was happening when Adel noticed a man running down the hill… screaming ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar’,” he said.
“Adel ran toward him, pushing him and pinning him down on the ground, at that instant, the man (detonated) the bomb and the second explosion happened.”
He said the attack was a “disaster and a tragedy, but at the same time, Adel has made us proud, as everyone now calls him a hero and he has completed his religious duty as a martyr in the heavens.”
Contrary to early reports, neither of Adel’s children had been killed in the blast, he said. Adel Termos is survived by his wife Bassima and two children, 6-year-old daughter Malak and 2-year-old son Akram.
In a purported ISIS statement circulated on social media, the terror group claimed responsibility for the blasts, which struck the Lebanese capital a day before the attacks in Paris. CNN hasn’t confirmed the authenticity of the statement.
A would-be suicide bomber who survived the attack told investigators he was an ISIS recruit, but investigators are still working to verify the surviving suspect’s claim, a Lebanese security source told CNN.
CNN’s Euan McKirdy, Alma Al Turkmani, Greg Botelho, Paul Cruickshank and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.