Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Abdul Amir, a true hero

Policemen guarding a polling station in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood Sunday recognized the suicide bomber immediately. The young man was wearing Chinese-made high-top tennis shoes, a leather jacket and a red head scarf - the same kind of clothes as worn by an attacker at another site that same day.

Fourteen-year police veteran Abdul Amir al-Shuwayli, 29, acted without hesitation.

The bomber was steps away from a line of voters heading into Al-Zahour Primary School when Shuwayli moved toward him, police Capt. Firaz Mohammed Ali said. According to Ali, Shuwayli yelled, "Let me save the people. Let me save my friends."

Shuwayli threw his arms around the bomber and drove him backward about 50 feet into an intersection. The rush seemed to catch the suicide attacker by surprise. The bomber had a hand grenade but failed to throw it. A second or two passed before he detonated an explosive belt, police Lt. Col. Kadham Abbas said.

The blast shredded Shuwayli, whose body took the brunt of the explosion. It also tore the bomber apart, leaving only his face intact. Shrapnel injured three other officers and perforated walls around the intersection. Windows in nearby homes shattered.

Voters continued to line up.

"Suicide bombers are not the only ones willing to give up their lives," said Ali, one of Shuwayli's commanders. "We have some people who are ready to die as well."

A true hero of our time.


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