Pak teen stops suicide bomber from entering school, dies in blast

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Pak teen stops suicide bomber from entering school, dies in blast
Islamabad, Jan 10: Pakistan is mourning the death of a 14-year-old who sacrificed himself while trying to stop a suicide bomber from entering his school and killing his friends. Ninth-grader Aitazaz Hassan Bangash is now hailed as the country's hero who deserves 'more recognition than Malala Yousafzai'.

The CNN talked to Aitazaz's cousin Musadiq Ali Bangash, who witnessed the incident. The duo were on their way to the Ibrahimzai School in the Hangu district of northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Monday when the bomber, dressed in a school uniform, asked him where the school was. The question made the teens became suspicious, Musadiq said.

There were other students with them, but everyone backed off. Aitazaz refused to let the bomber inside the gate and tried to catch him. During the scuffle, the bomber panicked and detonated his bomb," he said.

Another student 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.The blast injured two other people.

According to the local police, Hangu is a troubled district bordering Pakistan's tribal areas. It is rife with sectarian violence, with attacks against Shia and Sunni Muslims. Aitazaz' school has students from both Shia and Sunni sects. The students were in a morning assembly when the incident happened.

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

'Greater than Malala'

People have been calling for a posthumous award for Aitazaz' bravery. "He saved the lives of hundreds of students. He deserves more recognition than Malala Yousafzai," a local politician said. Aitazaz is been compared with Malala Yousafzai, a schoolgirl shot by the Taliban in October 2012 for promoting education for all boys and girls. Malala was widely appreciated by the western countries for her bravery and has been conferred with many prestigeous international awards. Malala's growing reputation and acceptance in the western world has irked Pakistanis who allege that Malala deceived the world by 'staging a fake attack on her'.

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