US Airman Who Set Self on Fire at Embassy Has Died

Aaron Bushnell of Texas decried 'genocide' outside Israeli Embassy in Washington
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2024 12:30 AM CST
Updated Feb 26, 2024 9:06 AM CST
US Air Force Member Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Embassy in DC
In this image taken from video, police are deployed outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.   (WJLA via AP)
UPDATE Feb 26, 2024 9:06 AM CST

The Air Force member who set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in DC on Sunday afternoon in support of Palestinians has died, reports the AP. The active-duty airman has been identified as 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell of San Antonio, Texas.

Feb 26, 2024 12:30 AM CST

An active duty airman with the US Air Force set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, on Sunday afternoon in an apparent protest against Israel's military offensive in Gaza. The man was hospitalized in critical condition, with life-threatening injuries, NPR reports. In video of the incident obtained by CNN, the man, who was wearing military fatigues, can be heard saying, "I will no longer be complicit in genocide" and adding that what he was going to do would still not compare to the suffering Palestinians are experiencing. He can be heard in the video yelling "Free Palestine" as he burns, the Washington Post reports.

Secret Service officers who responded to the scene doused the flames with fire extinguishers. No one else was injured in the incident, which remains under investigation. It is not clear what action the USAF will take with regard to the man. The Post notes that per Defense Department policy, US service members should "not engage in partisan political activity," and may not appear in uniform during "unofficial public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or any public demonstration which may imply sanction or endorsement by DoD or the Military Service." The newspaper also notes that the USAF "typically scrutinizes suicide attempts." (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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