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.
Part of complete coverage on
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Sean Connery says "yes," whilst David Beckham says "no." See what the famous are saying about Scotland's referendum.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
On September 18, Scots go to the polls to vote on the future of their country. Here's what you should know.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
This is "Flames of War," a slick and ominous new video from the ISIS media center.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
For years, Morten Storm moved between two worlds. A radical Islamist turned double agent is lifting the lid on some of the world's best-kept secrets.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0038 GMT (0838 HKT)
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
The Ebola virus, very deadly and currently without a cure, is fast-spreading throughout the small West African country.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 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.
Today's five most popular stories