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US airman dies after setting self on fire in protest of Israel

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-27 01:26

Members of the US Secret Service uniformed division block access to a street leading to the Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC on Feb 25. A man reportedly set himself on fire near the embassy on Sunday afternoon.[Photo/CFP]

WASHINGTON -- An active-duty airman of the US Air Force who set himself on fire on Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington to protest the Jewish state's military operation in Gaza has died, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Air Force spokeswoman Rose Riley said the man had "succumbed to his injuries and passed away last night. We will provide additional details 24 hours after next of kin notifications are complete."

The DC Fire and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Department said on X that they responded to a call about a person on fire outside the embassy just before 1 pm local time on Sunday, and found the flames extinguished by the Secret Service's uniformed division.

The airman, wearing a military uniform, filmed the protest in front of the embassy. "I will no longer be complicit in genocide," he yelled, referring to Israel's military operation in Gaza.

"Free Palestine," screamed the airman as he poured liquid on himself and set himself on fire, before collapsing on the ground.

He was transferred to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, DC Fire and EMS said.

The airman has been identified by the DC Metropolitan Police Department as 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell of San Antonio, Texas.

The incident came as the Israel-Hamas conflict is set to enter the fifth month, amid growing pressure, including from the United States, that urges Israel not to conduct a ground operation in southern Gaza, where over 1 million Palestinian civilians now reside.

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