US student killed in mosque attack called a â€˜heroâ€™
He was a Kansas college student who had returned home in order to get married.
And then after that, Abduljaleel Alarbash planned to leave Saudi Arabia and head back to Wichita State University, where the electrical engineering major was an honor roll student.
It appeared like it was nothing but good times ahead for â€œJalil,â€ as his college buddies called him.
Until Friday, when the 22-year-oldâ€™s life was cut short by a suicide bomber outside of a mosque in Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, its second on a Shiite mosque in as many weeks.
The blast also killed Jalilâ€™s brother, Mohammed, and their cousin, Alarbashâ€™s father, speaking in Arabic, said in a video posted Saturday.
The elder Alabash said the trio volunteered as security guards at the Al-Anoud Mosque, located in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood, and that they died â€œheroesâ€ because they prevented the suicide bomber from getting inside, where scores of Shiite Muslims were worshiping at the time.
â€œThe suicide bomber approached the mosque wearing (a traditional robe worn by women),â€ he said. â€œThey suspected him so they stopped him and uncovered his face.â€
The official Saudi account of the attack, however, is less clear than the one told by the grieving father.
A Ministry of Interior spokesman initially said it was â€œsecurity authoritiesâ€ who intercepted the terrorist, and later issued a statement in which they were merely referred to them as â€œsecurity men. â€œ
A Saudi source with detailed knowledge of the investigation, however, told CNN that the terrorist was indeed challenged by Shiites who had volunteered to search people trying to enter the mosque for Friday prayers.
For some in the Wichita State community who knew him, there is no doubt that Alarbash was the hero that day.
â€œAbduljalil saved hundreds of lives â€¦ including my father and some of my friends,â€ said Mohammad Aljady, a fellow Wichita State student. â€œWe believe what he did made him a hero and the world will never forget heroes.â€
â€œ(Abduljalil) and his brother were heroes,â€ said Mohammed Alsaeed, another student. â€œFrom the bottom of my heart I thank them for saving my family and othersâ€™ lives.â€
People who knew him on campus described Alarbash as a popular person who went out of his way to help others.
â€œWhat an amazing guy he was!â€ said Saeed Qaed AlGhamdi, the president of Wichita State Universityâ€™s Saudi Student Association. â€œHe was funny, a good guy
and we are sorry about what happened to him.â€
â€œHe was such an amazing man and will never be forgotten,â€ added Mohammed Alradhi.
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