(mariovittone.com) (mariovittone.com)

Tiber River

The Tiber River (Flickr)

A homeless Muslim who saved the life of an Israeli woman has been taken under the wing of the Jewish community there, which promised to find him a job and a place to live.  

A homeless Muslim in Rome who saved the life of an Israeli woman is being hailed as a hero in Italy, Haaretz reports.

Last Tuesday, Sobuj Khalifa, 32, from Bangladesh, spotted the woman drowning in the Tiber River from the bridge under which he had found refuge, and he quickly dove into the polluted water to save her. Police believe it was a suicide attempt that may have been triggered by a failed love affair.

A video of the rescue shows Khalifa holding onto the woman with one arm and swimming towards the riverbank with the other, while rescuers arrived on the scene and people atop the bridge were clapping and shouting “bravo!”

“I saw her fall from the bridge. I thought she was dead,” he told police officers in broken Italian. “But [when I reached her] I saw her eyes moving. I thought she could be still alive.”

The 55-year-old Israeli was taken to hospital and is in good condition, a police spokesman in Rome told Haaretz.

The rescue was widely reported across Italy. “I am not a hero,” Khalifa told Italian television station TV2000. “God wants us to help everybody.”

Authorities rewarded Khalifa for his courageous act by granting him a permit to stay and work in Italy. He had been living there illegally for eight years and was homeless for the past four.

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino wrote on his Facebook page that he had spoken to Khalifa to thank him for his “heroic and humane” act.

Riccardo Pacifici, head of Rome’s Jewish community, told Haaretz that the woman, who is Jewish, is now in psychiatric care and that they are in touch with her family. The Jews of Rome wish to thank Khalifa for his bravery and are working to find him a job and housing, he added.