Homeless Muslim Saves the Life of an Israeli Woman in Rome: How His Heroism Was Rewarded
Last Tuesday, Sobuj Khalifa, 32, from Bangladesh, spotted the woman drowning in the Tiber River from the bridge under which he had found refuge, and he quickly dove into the polluted water to save her. Police believe it was a suicide attempt that may have been triggered by a failed love affair.
A video of the rescue shows Khalifa holding onto the woman with one arm and swimming towards the riverbank with the other, while rescuers arrived on the scene and people atop the bridge were clapping and shouting “bravo!”
“I saw her fall from the bridge. I thought she was dead,” he told police officers in broken Italian. “But [when I reached her] I saw her eyes moving. I thought she could be still alive.”
The 55-year-old Israeli was taken to hospital and is in good condition, a police spokesman in Rome told Haaretz.
The rescue was widely reported across Italy. “I am not a hero,” Khalifa told Italian television station TV2000. “God wants us to help everybody.”
Authorities rewarded Khalifa for his courageous act by granting him a permit to stay and work in Italy. He had been living there illegally for eight years and was homeless for the past four.
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino wrote on his Facebook page that he had spoken to Khalifa to thank him for his “heroic and humane” act.
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