US Airman who set himself on fire outside Israeli embassy dies

An active U.S. Air Force member, who set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C., on Sunday has died. Aaron Bushnell, 25, of San Antonio, Texas, filmed the incident and could be heard yelling “Free Palestine”. Officers from the US Secret Service extinguished the flames before he was taken to hospital on Sunday afternoon with life-threatening injuries, after collapsing to the ground.

In a video that was live streamed on Twitch, the man identified himself and said he was a serving member of the Air Force. Before setting himself on fire, he said he would “no longer be complicit in genocide”. He added that his suffering was minimal compared to that of Palestinians as the humanitarian crisis persists in Gaza. He then set the recording device on the ground, before pouring an unknown liquid over himself and igniting it while yelling “Free Palestine” repeatedly. He eventually collapsed as police officers rushed to douse the flames with fire extinguishers. A spokesperson from the Israeli Embassy said no embassy staff were injured in the incident.

Bushnell’s identity was confirmed by the Metropolitan Police Department. Rose Riley, a spokesperson for the US Air Force, said he was an active-duty airman and that additional details will be provided after next of kin notifications are completed.

It is not the first time someone has self-immolated in front of an Israeli diplomatic mission in the US. In December, a protester set themselves on fire in front of the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia.

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