A student from Wichita State University in Kansas, who was in his home country Saudi Arabia to get married, heroically sacrificed his own life to save hundreds of worshippers when a suicide bomber sent by the Islamic State tried to enter a mosque.
Abduljaleel Alarbash, a 22-year-old electrical engineering student, was identified as one of two volunteer guards who went after a terrorist who tried to blow himself up in a mosque in the Saudi city of Dammam on Friday.
He was guarding the place of worship alongside his brother Mohammed when the suicide bomber, identified as Abu Jandal al-Jazrawi, approached.
The suspect was reportedly dressed as a woman and tried to enter the Imam Hussein mosque, the only Shia place of worship in the region. The mosque guards noticed something strange about the "woman" and turned him away. ISIS fighters come from the Sunni sect of Islam, who view Shia Muslims as devil-worshippers and blasphemers who deserve death.
The terrorist then tried to drive a car into the mosque's front entrance but was stopped by Alarbash and his brother Mohammed. Prevented from entering the mosque, al-Jazrawi then set off the explosives allegedly strapped in his body when the two brothers together with their cousin went after him in the parking lot, killing all four of them, Alarbash father said.
"The suicide bomber approached the mosque wearing (a traditional robe worn by women)," said the elder Alarbash. "They suspected him so they stopped him and uncovered his face."
Abduljaleel, or "Jalil" as his college friends called him, was a Saudi national who returned home to marry. After the wedding ceremony, he was planning to go back to the university where he was an honour student, according to CNN.
For his selfless act, Jalil is now regarded a hero by people who knew him.
"Abduljaleel saved hundreds of lives ... including my father and some of my friends," said Mohammad Aljady, who also studies at Wichita State. "We believe what he did made him a hero and the world will never forget heroes."
"(Abduljaleel) and his brother were heroes," said Mohammed Alsaeed, another student. "From the bottom of my heart I thank them for saving my family and others' lives."
Abduljaleel Alarbash was described as someone who would go out of his way to help other people. "What an amazing guy he was!" the president of Wichita State University's Saudi Student Association, Saeed Qaed AlGhamdi, said. "He was funny, a good guy and we are sorry (about) what happened to him."
"He was such an amazing man and will never be forgotten," said Mohammed Alradhi.
"I think the way in which he passed away shows a lot about the person," Alicia Newell, director of the university's engineering career centre, said. "He was definitely a pleasure to work with."
Preethika Kumar, an associate professor of electrical engineering at WSU, said Alarbash was "so excited" about getting married, saying he would even show pictures of his fiancee, The Wichita Eagle reported on Friday.
Alarbash would come to her office to talk about the class or other topics such as religion and his country.
"We would start talking, for one or two hours, about everything else – about their country and God and all kinds of things," she said. "I got to know him real well as a person."