Family cannot hide emotions as they bid farewell to fallen RAK soldier

Family, friends, servicemen and the Ruler of RAK turn out to pay respects to the father of five who died on duty in Yemen on Monday.
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of RAK, attends funeral prayers for Lt Rashid Ahmed Abdullah Al Habsi. Satish Kumar / The National
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of RAK, attends funeral prayers for Lt Rashid Ahmed Abdullah Al Habsi. Satish Kumar / The National

RAS AL KHAIMAH // Long before the body of fallen serviceman Lt Rashid Ahmed Abdullah Al Habsi arrived at Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Ras Al Khaimah on Tuesday, family, friends, other servicemen and well-wishers had gathered to pay their last respects.

The 34-year-old father of five died while serving in the Arab coalition’s Operation Restoring Hope in Yemen on Monday.

After the funeral prayers, which were attended by the Ruler of RAK, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the soldier’s body was laid to rest, with scores of Emiratis participating in the burial in Al Ghubb cemetery.

The fallen soldier’s father, Ahmad Al Habsi, and his uncles and brothers, could not contain their tears as the middle son of the family was buried.

The 61-year-old father drove home to Al Ghubb on Monday to find family members gathered at his front door to break the tragic news to him.

“I asked them what’s going on, and they told me Rashid had died. My country deserves such sacrifices and my son did that – he is a hero, a martyr,” the proud father said.

“Our country has given us a lot of things, and it’s an honour to sacrifice our sons for this great country, and its leaders.”

Abdullah Al Habsi, the serviceman’s older brother, said he had mixed emotions.

“Losing my brother is unbearable, but he died in the line of duty, serving his country, and protecting his brothers,” he said. “It’s a tragic loss for us and his children, may he rest in peace.”

He said that the last call the family received from Rashid was on Friday. “He called his parents and checked up on them. As usual, he made sure to check up on his brothers and sisters.”

The soldier’s uncle, Fahd Al Habsi, said he had lost a family member and a close friend.

“We were very close to each other – I’m older than him by four years – and while he was away from his duty, we spent a lot of time together, either at home or at the farm. His place will never be filled again and he will be missed,” he said. “Rashid went to Haj three times; he was a devout Muslim, humble and giving.”

Lt Al Habsi, who had been in Yemen for two months, is survived by three sons – Mohammed, Hamdan and Abdullah – and two daughters – Raheel and Sheikha.

He was one of 11 children – three brothers and seven sisters.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeted: “We are proud of the nation’s martyr. He is an example of allegiance and loyalty. In life, as in death, he made us proud. The UAE is stronger and more impregnable thanks to this select group of its honourable children.”

FNC council member Salim Al Nar Al Shihi was one of the well-wishers in attendance.

“It’s a sad day to bury another brave soldier, and we are here to pay our respects to his family,” he said.

Ahmad Obaid came from Al Rams, in RAK, to say farewell.

“RAK has buried another one of its sons, who died protecting the country. It is my duty to pay respects to the family, who are suffering a great loss,” said the 27-year-old Emirati.

Lt Al Habsi’s uncle Fahd concluded: “RAK has buried its hero, he will be missed dearly, but we know he is in heaven.”

tzriqat@thenational.ae

Published: September 6, 2016 04:00 AM

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