US airman sets himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in Washington

An active member of the US Air Force has died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington in protest of the war that continues to rage in Gaza.

Emergency responders rushed to the scene in response to a “call for person on fire outside the Israeli Embassy,” according to a message on X, formerly Twitter, by the capital’s fire department.

They arrived to find that officers from the Secret Service — the US law enforcement agency tasked with protecting US political leaders, visiting heads of state and others — had already extinguished the fire.

The man was transported to hospital with “critical life threatening injuries,” the fire department said.

The man was identified by police as Aaron Bushnell, 25, of San Antonio, Texas.

An Air Force spokesman confirmed to AFP that he was an active member of the Air Force, but gave no further details.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy said no staff were injured in the incident, and that the man was “unknown” to them.

US media reported that the man apparently livestreamed himself on Twitch, wearing fatigues and declaring he will “not be complicit in genocide” before dousing himself in liquid.

He then lit himself on fire while yelling “Free Palestine!” until he fell on the ground.

AFP has been unable to immediately verify the footage, with the New York Times reporting that it was removed from Twitch.

The shocking act came as protests are increasing across the United States against Israel’s actions in Gaza, where it is waging a retaliatory war for an attack on October 7 by Hamas militants.

With the death toll in Gaza nearing 30,000, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there, international pressure has been increasing on the United States to rein its ally Israel in and call for a ceasefire.

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