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Kansas Student Who Risked and Died Stopping ISIS Suicide Bomber in Saudi Arabia Mosque Is Hailed a Hero

A 22-year-old student from Wichita State University died while trying to stop an ISIS suicide bomber from entering a mosque in Saudi.
Policemen carry out an inspection after a car exploded near the Shi'ite al-Anoud mosque in Saudi Arabia's Dammam May 29, 2015. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing that killed four people at the Shi'ite Muslim mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia on Friday. REUTERS/Faisal Alnasser

Abduljaleel Alarbash, a student from Wichita State University, was killed outside a mosque in Saudi Arabia while trying to stop a suicide bomber from entering.

The 22-year-old Engineering student was standing guard at a civilian checkpoint outside the mosque's entrance. He, his brother and a cousin volunteered to be on the lookout outside Al-Anoud Mosque while Shiite Muslims were praying inside. They also searched people who entered the mosque for the Friday prayers to ensure everyone's safety.

According to witnesses, the suicide bomber tried to enter the mosque wearing a burka, the traditional robe for women. Alarbash and his companions were suspicious of him and would not let him in. They were able to uncover his face, according to CNN.

The suicide bomber, after being denied entry, tried to drive his car to the front entrance but Alarbash and the two other volunteer guards stopped him. When his plan to enter the mosque was stopped again, the suicide bomber detonated the bomb in the parking lot, killing himself and the three volunteer guards, according to Mail Online.

The suicide bomber, whose body parts were found scattered all over the bomb site, was identified as Abu Jandal al-Jazrawi. ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the bomber was a "soldier of the caliphate" from the Najd Province, a place in the central Arabian Peninsula, Mail Online reported. ISIS considers Shiite muslims as apostates and believes they should be killed.

The hundreds of Shiite muslims in the mosque, who were terrified when the bomb went off, were extremely grateful that the attack was stopped outside. Their safety was paid for by the lives of Alarbash, his brother and his cousin.

Alarbash wasn't planning to stay long in Saudi. He went home to get married, after which he planned to go back to WSU to continue his studies. He was an honor student at the university.

WSU issued a statement saying they are saddened by Alarbash's demise. They extended their condolences to the student's family and friends, according to local TV station KWCH.

Back in Wichita, the community hailed Alarbash as a hero for his act of courage. Some WSU students, whose family members were in the mosque on the day of the attack, were grateful for what Alarbash had done.

"Abduljalil saved hundreds of lives, including my father and some of my friends," said student Mohammad Aljady. "What he did made him a hero," he added, according to CNN.

"From the bottom of my heart I thank them for saving my family and others' lives," said Mohammed Alsaeed, another student.

"I think the way in which he passed away shows a lot about the person," comments WSU engineering career center director Alicia Newell.  

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