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
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT)
Groping, lewd comments, and that's not the worst of it.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 0133 GMT (0933 HKT)
British hostage John Cantlie appears from the battle city of Kobani.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1106 GMT (1906 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