After the ground offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS was launched in mid-October, Islamic State terrorists attacked Kirkuk, Iraq.
Nearly 90 civilians and Peshmerga were killed by ISIS in the surprise counterattack Oct. 21, which included suicide bombers and gunmen targeting police stations and a city power plant.
But the death toll could have been higher if one Kurd and his armored BMW hadn’t stepped in.
Ako Rahman, a member of the Peshmerga’s 116th Brigade in Tuz, volunteered to plunge into the fighting to save more than 70 people who had been wounded by ISIS, putting them in his own bulletproof car and rushing them to the hospital.
“My aim was to prevent any captives, wounded or martyrs falling into ISIS’ hands,” he told Rudaw news. “What really made me sad… many of the wounded, we reached them too late and they bled to death.”
By the end of the rescue op, Rahman said his car had 50 to 60 bullet holes, many on the front end and windshield. He bought the Mad Max-mobile for $9,000 just four months ago; BMW has offered to give him a brand-new car and retire the heroic one to their company museum, but instead he’s giving the car to a local museum so that the symbol of Kurdish bravery will be on display for Kurds.
“The ISIS bullets were coming in my direction. I saw death with my own eyes. Yet, I did not stop what I was doing,” Rahman said. “I could not leave the wounded in limbo. The only thing I cared about was getting the wounded into my car and driving them to the hospital.”
Rahman told BasNews that “after we arrived at the scene, we saw many wounded individuals among the security forces and civilians and no one was able to approach them due to the IS snipers. Therefore we decided to help those wounded people since bullets could not penetrate my car.”
The Kirkuk governor, Najmaldin Karim, honored Rahman this week. “The bravery and the sacrifices of our citizens have foiled the dirty plans by ISIS terrorist gangs,” Karim said, according to a release by his office. “We and on behalf of people of Kirkuk thank them [Peshmerga], and we value their sacrifices.”
At the meeting, Rahman said, “What I have done falls under my duty as a Peshmerga fighter. Kirkuk is worth our sacrifices.”
Rahman felt “insulted,” according to BasNews, when Karim offered him 500,000 Iraqi dinars, or $422.84.
ISIS called the Kirkuk attack “a holy victory”; more than 70 ISIS died at the hands of the fierce resistance.
— Kapboom (@kapboom_) October 24, 2016
— Sarwan wllatzheri (@sarwanshokri) October 25, 2016