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25 Feb, 2024 23:11

US airman sets himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy in Washington

He was reportedly protesting the ongoing war in Gaza
US airman sets himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy in Washington

A man has been hospitalized in critical condition after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC on Sunday, the city’s emergency services said.

Vito Maggiolo, a spokesman for DC Fire and EMS, told reporters that the man has been hospitalized with “critical life-threatening injuries.”

Independent journalist Talia Jane said she obtained footage of the incident which shows the man was wearing a military uniform and described himself as “an active duty member of the US Air Force.”

According to Jane, the man said “I will no longer be complicit in genocide” and shouted “Free Palestine.” The journalist posted a graphic photo of a man in fatigues engulfed in flames.

CNN, which also reviewed the video, said the man identified himself as Aaron Bushnell. US Air Force spokeswoman Rose Riley later confirmed to CNN that “an active duty airman was involved in today’s incident.”

Numerous pro-Palestine protests have been held outside Israeli missions abroad after Israel launched its military operation against the militant group Hamas in Gaza in October 2023. The protesters have been demanding a ceasefire, highlighting the staggering civilian death toll. In early December, a man set himself on fire in front of the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pro-Israeli demonstrations have also been held in Washington, DC and other cities, where people have mourned the Israelis killed by Hamas and demanded the release of hostages taken by the group during its attack on October 7, which triggered the ongoing war. 

Nearly 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of the conflict, according to the local Hamas-run authorities. Israel has rejected accusations of genocide, arguing that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and should ultimately be held responsible for the deaths in Gaza.