US Airman Dies After Setting Himself on Fire in Protest Outside Israeli Embassy

An active-duty member of the US Air Force, 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell, lost his life after setting himself on fire in protest outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC. The incident unfolded on a Sunday afternoon when officers from the US Secret Service intervened to extinguish the flames before Bushnell was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries.

Video footage obtained by CNN captures the harrowing moments leading up to the tragic incident. In the video, Bushnell, wearing military fatigues, declares, “I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” expressing his anguish over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. He emphasizes that his extreme act of protest pales in comparison to the suffering endured by the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Law enforcement officers arrived at the scene as Bushnell doused himself with an unknown liquid and ignited it while repeatedly shouting “Free Palestine.” The intense visuals show officers urgently attempting to douse the flames with fire extinguishers, with one officer holding a drawn gun as Bushnell collapses on the ground, screaming in pain.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) identified Bushnell, a San Antonio, Texas native, and a friend described him as “the kindest, gentlest” individual in the Air Force. Despite efforts to save his life, Bushnell succumbed to his injuries after being transported to a local hospital.

The US Air Force confirmed Bushnell’s active-duty status but withheld his name until 24 hours after notifying next of kin. The Israeli Embassy released a statement confirming that no embassy staff were injured in the incident. Authorities are conducting a joint investigation with the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to understand the circumstances surrounding the act of self-immolation.

The incident spotlights the emotional toll of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has seen casualties in Gaza reach nearly 30,000, according to reports from the Hamas-run health ministry. Bushnell’s protest, which he live-streamed on Twitch, underlines the broader implications of global conflicts and the impact on individuals serving in the military.

This tragic event follows a similar incident in December, where an individual set themselves on fire outside an Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta in what was described as an “extreme act of political protest.” The Palestinian flag found at the scene highlighted the deep-rooted emotions surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The video shared on social media platforms has reignited discussions about the US stance on the Israel-Hamas war, with mounting pressure on the Biden administration to reconsider its support for Israel. The US recently vetoed a UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, adding to the global outcry against the prolonged conflict.

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