Iraqi culture minister unveils statue of nationalist hero Umm Qusay

Aliyah Khalaf Saleh

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Culture Minister Abdul Amir al-Hamdani has unveiled a statue of a nationalist hero, who sheltered a group of military cadets from the brutality of Islamic State militants in 2014.

Addressing a ceremony held at the ministry’s arts exhibition on Sunday, the minister said that the bronze statue comes in recognition of the great sacrifice made by Aliyah Khalaf Saleh, known as Umm Qusay, who he said “set the best example of heroism when she protected a host of youth from Islamic State terrorists.”

The statue is 80 centimeters high with a base of about 40 centimeter.

The 62-year-old was born in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin, near Tikrit. She was not afforded the opportunity to attend school and was married at the age of 13.

“ISIS (referring to Islamic State) killed my husband, son and my nephew in front of my eyes,” she said.

Umm Qusay rescued over 20 cadets over a period of 17 days. She hid them, provided them with ID cards from the local university to hide their identities, and helped prepare their escape routes.

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