Updated February 26th, 2024 at 14:43 IST

US Air Force Member Sets Himself Ablaze Outside Israeli Embassy in Washington DC Over Gaza War

US service member is said to be in a critical condition. He was on fire for about a minute before law enforcement officers extinguished the flames.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Scene from outside of Israeli embassy in Washington DC. | Image:X
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An active-duty member of the US Air Force on Monday set himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC in protest of the ongoing military operation in the besieged strip of Gaza. “I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” the US Air Force personnel was heard saying in a video before he set himself on fire, adding that his suffering was “minimum” as compared with the trauma and plight faced by the Palestinians.

The US service member is said to be in a critical condition. He was on fire for about a minute before law enforcement officers extinguished the flames around 1pm after responding to the scene. The service member was in military uniform and identified himself as "an active duty member of the US Air Force." In a statement, Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said that  "an active duty Airman was involved in today's incident,” in an email to Axios.

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The burned victim, who was rushed to the hospital with "critical life-threatening injuries," was identified as 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell from US Air Force, according to independent journalists, reported Time Magazine.

‘I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest’

The uniformed US Air Force personnel backed the case brought against the Israeli military for the suffering in the Gaza Strip in an International Court of Justice. Before setting himself on fire, the American service member said, "I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest.”

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The airman, whom the US Air Force refrained from identifying with name, was transported with "critical life threatening injuries to an area hospital," DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department said in a post on X. The incident occurred at 3500 block of International Drive, NW, at approximately 1:00 pm, and reportedly, Metropolitan Police Department assisted the United States Secret Service.

The DC Police Department said that its Explosive Ordnance Disposal was “called to the 3500 block on International Drive in northwest DC "in reference to a suspicious vehicle that may be connected to the individual," but it later said that no hazardous materials had been found. It then said in another X post that an “adult male was transported by DC Fire and EMS to a local hospital where they remain in critical condition. MPD is working with the USSS and ATF to investigate the incident.” By the time the police responded to the scene the fire was extinguished by the US Secret Service.

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 08:35 IST