US airman dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli embassy
Aaron Bushnell yelled ‘Free Palestine!’ then lit himself on fire near the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC.
Feb 26, 2024
A member of the United States air force who had set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington in an apparent protest against Israel’s war in Gaza has died, the Pentagon says.
The 25-year-old airman, Aaron Bushnell of San Antonio, Texas, died from his injuries, the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC, said on Monday.
US media reports said Bushnell livestreamed himself on the social media platform Twitch wearing fatigues and declaring he would “not be complicit in genocide” before dousing himself in liquid on Sunday.
He then lit himself on fire while yelling “Free Palestine!” until he fell to the ground. The footage has since been removed from Twitch.
In a statement, the air force said on Monday: “The individual involved in yesterday’s incident succumbed to his injuries and passed away last night.”
The air force said it would provide additional information a day after military officials complete notifying his next of kin.
The incident comes as protests against Israel’s war on Gaza continue across the US.
In December, a protester set herself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta. A Palestinian flag was found at the scene, and the act was believed to be one of “extreme political protest”.
Israel launched an assault on Gaza after Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,139 people and seizing about 250 as hostages.
Since those attacks, Israel has bombarded the Palestinian territory from air, land and sea and launched a ground invasion. More than 29,000 people have been killed in the Israeli assault, according to Palestinian authorities.
Israel’s campaign in Gaza has left much of the territory in ruins and displaced more than 80 percent of its population.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES