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Teenager Throws Himself Onto A Suicide Bomber To Save 2,000 Of His Schoolmates

"He told [his classmates] 'I'm going to stop him. He is going to school to kill my friends,'" an eyewitness recalled. "He wanted to capture this suicide bomber. He wanted to stop [him]."

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A brave teen is being credited for saving the lives of many this week when he threw himself on a suicide bomber who was about to detonate inside his school

15-year-old Aitzaz Hasan was with friends outside school when they spotted a man wearing a suicide vest.

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A picture posted on social media purportedly of Aitizaz Hasan

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Despite the pleas of his fellow students, he decided to confront and capture the bomber who then detonated his vest, his cousin told the BBC.

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Young Aitzaz is being hailed as a hero in an outpouring of praise on social media

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There have even been calls for him to receive the army's highest honour awarded to those who have sacrificed their life for their country, though it is unclear if he would be qualified to receive it as a civilian.

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One of Pakistan's most famous journalists, Nasim Zehra, has demanded the highest honour for Hasan. She tweeted:

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The incident took place on Monday in Ibrahimzai, a Shia-dominated region of Hangu, in north-western Pakistan

There were almost 2,000 students in attendance at the time of the attack, media reports say.

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The father of Aitzaz Hassan, who saved the lives of hundreds of school children, says he is not sad that his son is dead just proud that he is a martyr and hopes his other son dies in the same way.

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"My cousin sacrificed his life saving his school and hundreds of students and school fellows," his cousin Mudassar Hassan Bangish told the BBC's Aleem Maqbool.

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"The suicide bomber wanted to destroy the school and school students. It was my cousin who stopped him from this...destruction." He then described the sequence of events as related to him by witnesses at the school.

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Aitzaz's friends had urged him not to confront the suicide bomber but he ignored their pleas and decided to confront the man with the intention of halting him

"So he told them 'I'm going to stop him. He is going to school to kill my friends'. He wanted to capture this suicide bomber. He wanted to stop [him]. Meanwhile the suicide bomber blasted himself which resulted in the death of my cousin," Mr Bangish said.

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Security personnel examine the site of a sucide bombing in the Ibrahimzai area of Hangu district on January 6, 2014.

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He described Aitzaz as "brave" and a good student. "He always used to say 'I am always ready for my country'."

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His family insists that rather than focus on the sorrow brought about by his death, they want to focus on their pride in his actions

"He is a shahid [martyr]. A shahid of his whole nation," he said. His family have also spoken of Aitzaz's actions in Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper.

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Aitzaz Hasan was described as a brave and good student

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"My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children," Mujahid Ali, Aitzaz's father is quoted as saying.

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“I am ready to sacrifice my second son for Pakistan as well,” Ali added. “There are a handful of people in the world who are martyrs; I am now one of those proud fathers whose son is amongst them.”

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According to Mr Bangish, people in the area would like to see the government give Aitzaz an award to recognise his bravery

They compared him with celebrated Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai - a comparison being echoed across social media.

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On Twitter, users are paying tribute to Aitzaz using the hashtags #onemillionaitzaz and #AitzazBraveheart echoing the language used online around figures such as Malala and the Delhi rape victim, whose death galvanised Indian public opinion and prompted changes in rape laws there.

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Former Pakistani ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman tweeted:

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Hangu is close to Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal regions, which have a strong Taliban and al-Qaeda presence and the area is also known for sectarian violence against Shia Muslims.

Mr Bangish said the region's residents are "patriotic people" but have to contend with difficult conditions.

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He he added that in order to cope with such conditions and tackle the "fights and blast ... needs courage like Aitzaz has. We salute his bravery".

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