An Iraqi man is being hailed as a hero after he gave up his life to save the lives of many others.
Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi, a citizen of the city of Balad in Iraq, allegedly saw a terrorist strapped with detonative about to enter Sayyed Mohammad Shrine and made a split-second decision to save as many people as he could.
Al-Baldawi ran up to the bomb-strapped terrorist and wrapped him in his arms as he was about to enter the crowd-filled shrines. The suicide bomber detonated the vest as he was grabbed, but the impact of the explosion was significantly lessened by Al-Baldawi’s body.
What could have resulted in a death toll of hundreds was reduced to about 40, thanks to the Iraqi man’s noble sacrifice. The huge explosion also left 70 people injured.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks soon after five extremists took part in fighting Iraqi security forces, detonated themselves and started the fire at the shrine.
The suicide bombers, however, failed to get inside the busy shrine, which was their ultimate goal. Two bombers blew themselves up while a third was shot dead by Iraqi forces.
The attack also sparked a fire that resulted in heavy damage to the market nearby.
“It is clear the cowardly attack on the shrine aims to spark sectarian tensions and drag Iraq back to the dark days of sectarian conflict,” Jan Kubis, the U.N.’s top Iraq envoy, said in a statement.
People from all over the world have turned to social media to praise Al-Baldawi’s heroic act.
A heart-breaking story ?? Your sacrifice will not be forgotten. Rest in peace, Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi. ?????? https://t.co/h3SPEVmRMG— Read Diverse Books (@_diversebooks) July 11, 2016
The world we live in is often terrifying and saddening, but there are heroes. Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi was one. https://t.co/sWeVyfPiuQ— Agrippina (@ClareAgrippina) July 11, 2016
Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi who hugged/tackled an ISIS suicide bomber , saving many lives but losing his.— Sandy Lanceley (@sandylanceley) July 11, 2016
True hero. pic.twitter.com/eMjz0RSBtf
Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi was as bad-ass as it gets. RIP a true hero. https://t.co/AIXoCkP4ml— William Dao (@WILLYumDAO) July 10, 2016
Want give a shoutout to Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi, a Muslim man who hugged a suicide bomber before the bomb went off, saving 100s of lives— Felipe Torres |-/ (@dertotten) July 10, 2016
The bombings came just a few days after the attack in Iraq’s Karrada area, which resulted in a death toll of over 300 and is being claimed as the single deadliest assault in the country since the war to bring down Saddam Hussein 13 years ago.