Baghdad: Smiling for the camera, this police officer looks like he’s just messing around with a mate who he’s playfully pinned up against the wall.
But he’s actually in the middle of a life-and-death struggle with an ISIS suicide bomber who just seconds earlier tried to detonate his explosive vest at an Iraqi checkpoint.
Nevertheless, Saad Ali Thabit somehow found time to pose for his picture while holding the jihadi’s arms up to stop him triggering his bomb and killing dozens of people.
As he presses him against the wall, his colleagues rip off the militant’s clothes to reveal an explosive belt which they cut off him.
He then forces the would-be bomber to the ground and ties his hands behind his back.
Thabit has been hailed a hero by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who commended him for his courage.
The dramatic arrest in the Kadhimiyah neighborhood of Baghdad on Wednesday was also caught on CCTV and has since gone viral, racking up hundreds of thousands of views.
The footage shows Thabit discovering and then disarming the would-be bomber during a routine search at the checkpoint where he was working.
It shows other people lined up at the checkpoint quickly running away as the bomber’s explosive belt was discovered.
Baghdad has experienced a wave of deadly bombings this month that killed more than 200 within a single week.
The attacks point to the resilience of ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for many of the deadliest attacks.
ISIS has increasingly resorted to bombings in civilian areas far from the front lines as it has lost territory to Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes.
But the bombings also exposed lingering gaps in the Iraqi capital’s defenses, which are manned by an array of security agencies and militias that don’t always cooperate.
In addition to defending Baghdad from ISIS, Iraqi security forces have also had to contend with months of mass anti-government protests led by powerful Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Twice during the weekly protests, the demonstrators breached Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone and ransacked government buildings inside.
Iraqi forces are currently waging an offensive to retake the ISIS-held city of Fallujah west of Baghdad.
ISIS still controls some key areas in western and northern Iraq, including the country’s second-largest city, Mosul.