US Air Force serviceman sets himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy

By
Web Desk
|
The Israeli flag flies at half-staff at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, September 30, 2016. — Reuters
The Israeli flag flies at half-staff at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, September 30, 2016. — Reuters

An active-duty member of the United States Air Force is in critical condition after he set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, on Sunday, CNN reported citing reports from the Air Force and local authorities.

"The Metropolitan Police Department responded to the 3500 block of International Drive, NW, at approximately 1:00pm, to assist the United States Secret Service after an individual set themselves on fire in front of an embassy in the block,” the Washington Metropolitan Police Department said.

The man identified himself as Aaron Bushnell in a video of the incident. According to Israeli media reports, the airman has died.

Before setting himself on fire, he said, "I will no longer be complicit in genocide" before adding that his actions that would follow are minimal compared to the suffering of Palestinians.

He sets the recording device on the ground, pours an unknown liquid over himself, and yells "Free Palestine" repeatedly before collapsing.

Police officers intervened to extinguish the flames with fire extinguishers.

Rose Riley, a spokesperson for the US Air Force, said: "I can confirm an active duty Airman was involved in today’s incident."

The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department transported the man to a local hospital, MPD said.

A spokesperson from the Israeli Embassy said: "No embassy staff were injured and are safe."

By the time firefighters were dispatched to the scene, the US Secret Service had already extinguished the fire, according to Vito Maggiolo, a public information officer from DC Fire.

MPD said it is working with the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the incident.

In December, a person set themselves on fire outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, likely in an extreme political protest.

A Palestinian flag was recovered, and gasoline was used as an accelerant, according to police and fire officials.

Israel is waging war on Gaza, after Hamas' October 7 surprise attacks that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities. The Benjamin Netanyahu-led government has since killed nearly 30,000 people in Gaza, according to the Gaza health ministry.