US Air Force member sets himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in protest over Gaza war

An active-duty member of the US Air Force set himself on fire Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. in protest against the war in Gaza, according to multiple reports.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest but, compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal,” 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell said prior to setting himself on fire.

Footage showing the protest and the moment when Bushnell set himself on fire went viral on social media.

The fire was extinguished by Secret Service personnel and Bushnell was subsequently dispatched to an area hospital due to "critical life-threatening injuries," said the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

According to information obtained by Anadolu from a Washington Fire and Emergency Health Service official, the report was made to the Washington Fire Department around 13:00 local time.

The report mentioned that an adult male had set himself on fire in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, according to the official.

"Upon arriving at the scene, we saw that the fire had been extinguished by uniformed Secret Service personnel,” the official said.

Multiple reports citing the live streaming of the incident said the man shouted "Free Palestine" as he burned.

The Washington Post cited a spokeswoman for the Air Force, Rose M. Riley, as confirming that "an active duty airman was involved in today’s incident.”

In the video, aired on the livestreaming platform Twitch and later removed, Bushnell reportedly said he would "no longer be complicit in genocide," in reference to the Israeli killings in Gaza since October. He also reportedly said, "I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest."

An investigation remains underway, according to authorities.

US Air Force member who set himself on fire in protest of Gaza 'genocide' dies in hospital

In December 2023, a person set themself on fire outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia in protest against Israel over its attacks in Gaza.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border incursion by the Palestinian group Hamas, killing more than 29,690 people and causing mass destruction and shortages of necessities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Hostilities have continued unabated, however, and aid deliveries remain woefully insufficient to address the humanitarian catastrophe.

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