Robber foiled in ex-soldier’s shop

Former Kurdish special forces peshmerga Shikha Mahsum, outside his Kobani off-licence in Walsall, West Midlands.
Former Kurdish special forces peshmerga Shikha Mahsum, outside his Kobani off-licence in Walsall, West Midlands.
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An attempted armed robbery on an off-licence was foiled after raiders targeted a shop run by a former Kurdish special forces soldier.

Dramatic CCTV footage showed the moment storekeeper Shikha Mahsum blasted a gunman in the face with an animal repellent spray.

The fearless shop owner described hearing the attacker’s gun “click” but failing to fire as he faced down the raider. The man had burst into the store just before midnight on January 9 armed with a handgun.

He first pointed the weapon at the head of another staff member before waving it in Mr Mahsum’s face, over the shop counter.

But the quick-thinking shopkeeper, who took two bullets fighting Saddam Hussain’s troops in Iraq, grabbed the spray from under the counter.

Weapons-trained Mr Mahsum then blasted the gunman directly in the face, before chasing the would-be robber out the door of the Kobani off-licence in Walsall, West Midlands.

The store was named for the six-month siege of Kobani in northern Iraq, when Kurdish fighters backed by air strikes defeated a large Islamic State force.

Asked if the robber had picked the wrong shop, 39-year-old Mr Mahsum replied: “100%, yes.

“100% the wrong shop.

He went on: “Kurdish shop? A million times, the wrong place.”

Describing the incident, he added: “I said ‘Get out - don’t do a stupid thing’.

“He turned the gun on my face, and said ‘Give me the money’.

“I went mad, I had my head down under the counter, looking for a hammer, or anything, and straight away I see the dog spray.

“I use it, and chase him. He was like a little child, running off and going out. That’s it.”

Mr Mahsum explained that as a Kurdish peshmerga he had been taught to handle an AK47 from the age of 11 and was used to being shot at.

He moved to the UK 16 years ago, having been shot by Saddam’s forces in Iraq.