An Iranian soldier is being hailed a national hero after losing his leg while risking his life to save dog caught up in barb wire in an adjacent minefield.
Last month, 19-year-old soldier Mohammad Bakhtar was at his military base when he noticed a dog tangled in barb wire in a nearby minefield.
Not able to bear hearing the dog’s cries, Bakhtar made his way out to the distraught animal. Right after freeing the dog, a bomb exploded, tearing off his leg.
Despite receiving quick medical attention, doctors were unable to reattach his leg.
While in the hospital, the teenage soldier’s heroic tale went viral, with media outlets, Facebook and Twitter spreading the story.
Officials visited him, while reportedly thousands stood outside the hospital with posters wishing him a speedy recovery and paying homage to him.
“I salute this young soldier as the symbol of honour and bravery, and wish the Middle East had many like him as a panacea for long-existing problems,” al-Jazeera reported one woman from Tehran tweeting.
While the incident was life changing (and extremely painful) Bakhtar told al-Jazeera he would do it again. “I love animals. I love nature,” he said.
After his release last week, Bakhtar was inundated with flowers, wreaths and banners stating “Welcome back, brave soldier” and “messenger of peace” in his hometown.