Life in most of northern Iraq has been akin to Hell on Earth ever since it came under occupation of the terror group ISIS. Those who remained were under the constant threat of death, especially if a person happened to be part of any group actively fighting against ISIS control, like the Kurds. With the commencement of the coalition campaign to liberate the occupied city of Mosul, the dangers have only escalated for those caught in the crossfire. Case in point, in the course of the offensive an ISIS counterattack was launched at the city of Kirkuk, aimed at distracting the advancing Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, as well as strike terror anew by killing as many people as they could.
This is where Peshmerga fighter Ako Abdulrahman came in rather unexpectedly. As Maxim tells it, on October 21 when an ISIS unit entered Kirkuk to lash out at security forces and civilians, the oil-rich city was turned into an impromptu shooting gallery with the Islamic extremists hell-bent on inflicting as much death as inhumanly possible. With emergency medical personnel unable to approach gunshot victims due to ISIS snipers, Abdulrahman suddenly found a right proper environment to test his recent investment: a customized bulletproof 1990s model BMW.
It would set back the Peshmerga fighter upwards of $10,000 out of his personal savings to acquire the car from an automobile auction, quite a lot of money considering he has a wife and four kids to support at his home in the outskirts of Kirkuk. But the 32-year old officer from the Peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdish autonomous province of Iraq, believes his purchase was worth it, enabling him and his fellow fighters to travel the no-man’s land of northern Iraq without worrying too much about ISIS marksmen and even roadside improvised explosive devices.
Abdulrahman’s armored 7-series BMW would face its ultimate test during the ISIS raid on Kirkuk. After seeing the kill zone set up by the terrorists on the embattled city streets, he came to a decision: “We decided to help those wounded people since bullets could not penetrate my car." All day long until evening fell Abdulrahman drove his car, with its camouflage-painted hood, into the jaws of death to pull out wounded lying on the pavement, evacuating them to hospitals. All in all his car suffered fifty gunshots and was ultimately disabled at the end of the day, but his brave actions got 70 victims away from the line of fire. Of these, 69 would survive and have a chance to live.
The daring rescue effort earned Abdulrahman a formal certificate from the governor of Kirkuk, Dr. Najmaldin Karim, along with a cash reward. BMW’s German HQ even extended him an offer to buy the car and display it in their head office, an offer Abdulrahamn turned down, planning fix his ride and continue using it to do his job of protecting people.
Photo Credit to http://www.motortrend.com/