A 15-year-old boy who died tackling a suicide bomber in the north-western Pakistani region of Hangu on Monday (January 6) is being hailed as a hero.
According to CNN, ninth-grader Aitazaz Hassan Bangash was on his way to the Ibrahimzai School with his cousin when the suicide bomber, dressed in school uniform, stopped them for information, to ask where the school was.
Aitazaz and his cousin Musadiq Ali Bangash, showed him the way but then became suspicious, Musadiq told CNN.
While Musadiq backed off, Aitazaz decided to face the bomber. He first threw a large stone at him as he was about to enter the school. He then started a scuffle by grabbing him, which caused the bomber to panic and detonate his vest. Both died at the scene.
Two more people were injured in the blast, witnesses said.
According to reports, Pakistanis are comparing him to Malala, the school girl shot by the Taliban in October 2012 for promoting education for all boys and girls.
Local residents in Hangu are now calling for Aitazaz to receive a posthumous award for his bravery, which they say saved the lives of many students.
On Twitter, they are asking everyone to use hastags #onemillionaitzazs or simply #aitzaz and calling for his heroism to be recognized with an award.
Aitazaz is survived by his father, Mujaad Ali Bangash, his elder brother, Mustajab Hassan Bangash, and three sisters, reports say.
Hangu is close to Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal regions, one of Pakistan's seven lawless districts on the Afghan border with a strong Taliban and al-Qaeda presence.
The area is also known for sectarian violence against Shia Muslims, BBC reported.