A Wichita State engineering student is being called a hero after witnesses said he chased off a suicide bomber Friday while back home in Saudi Arabia for the summer before he was killed in the ensuing detonation.
KWCH-TV reported that Abduljaleel Alarbash and his cousin Mohammed were volunteering as security guards at the Shiite Imam Hussein mosque in Dammam, when a suicide bomber dressed as a woman parked next to the mosque.
Witnesses told the Associated Press that the young men chased down the bomber, which led him to set off the explosion.
"They chased the suicide bomber when he tried to enter the women's section of the mosque," worshipper Mohammed Idris told the AP.
The two became suspicious because women had reportedly been told to stay away from the mosque that day due to security concerns after a mosque bombing the week before.
"His move in Saudi Arabia was of bravery. He is a hero. Because of their bravery and heroism, he saved a lot of people,” Naim Ballout, president of the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Association in Wichita, said at a memorial service Friday, KWCH-TV reported.
Video from inside the crowded mosque at the moment the bomb went off, later posted by Gulf News, showed how many lives were likely saved.
“To save the lives of hundreds of people was an act of a true Muslim and an act of a global citizen,” Taben Azad, vice president of the Muslim Student Association at Wichita State, told the Wichita Eagle.
Those who knew the engineering student said he had traveled to Saudi Arabia to plan his upcoming wedding.
One of his professors said he used to show her photos of his fiancee.
“He was so excited” about getting married, Preethika Kumar, associate professor of electrical engineering told the Wichita Eagle.
The Islamic State group, which has targeted numerous Shiite religious sites, claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack. Four people were killed.