RAS AL KHAIMAH // By the grave, his distraught uncle knelt in grief, inconsolable.
Overhead, even the grey skies of Shaam, on the nation’s northernmost tip, seemed in mourning.
It was the day his family, his friends and his country laid to rest the Emirati hero who went to Bahrain to serve and defend the peace, and gave his life protecting the innocent from the scourge of terrorism.
First Lieutenant Tariq Al Shehi, 41 and a father of four, died after an improvised terrorist bomb exploded on Monday as security forces dispersed Shiite protesters in the village of Daih, near Manama.
UAE authorities dispatched a private plane to fly Lt Al Shehi’s body to Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, and the body was escorted by a police convoy to the grave site in his home town of Shaam, 56 kilometres away near the Omani border.
More than 500 mourners lined the little town's main street, along with official and private vehicles from around the emirates, waiting for Lt Al Shehi's body to arrive.
As the ambulance opened its rear doors mourners jostled for an opportunity to carry the body for the few metres to the final resting place.
Before the body, wrapped in white, was lowered into the grave, they laid it on the ground for a brief moment of silence.
Grieving family members were the first to place dirt over the body, followed by other mourners.
Lt Al Shehi’s uncle, Ali Abdullah Al Qaidi, was close to tears over his nephew’s nameless headstone after the burial was complete.
Mourners took turn reciting Quranic verses over the grave, led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, offered his condolences to the grieving family, and conveyed those of the President, Sheikh Khalifa, of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Sheikh Saif said the sons of the nation, such as Lt Al Shehi, did not hesitate in fighting terrorism and in standing up for what the UAE considers of mutual interest.
Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, the National Security Adviser, was also among leading government figures at the funeral.
Lt Al Shehi “was an example of goodness, dedication, discipline and excellence”, said Maj Gen Sheikh Talib bin Saqr Al Qasimi, chief of Ras Al Khaimah Police.
“He was loyal to, and did a great deal for, his homeland, and received martyrdom for the sake of his God and his homeland, and for duty, humanity and peace.
“On this sad occasion, we offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of the martyr, asking the Lord to have mercy upon him and accept him in paradise as a martyr.”
Two other police officers with the Bahraini security forces were killed in Monday’s bomb blast.