Man sets himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in Washington, police say


A man who had set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington died from his injuries, Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Lee Lepe said Monday.

A U.S. Air Force spokeswoman, Ann Stefanek, confirmed Sunday night that the man was an active-duty airman.

United States Secret Service agents extinguished the fire in front of the embassy in northwest Washington around 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, said Vito Maggiolo, spokesman for the city’s fire department. The man was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries.

No embassy staff were injured and all were accounted for, according to embassy spokesman Tal Naim.

The man appeared to have filmed the protest and livestreamed it on the social media platform Twitch at the time police said they responded to the incident. The New York Times could not confirm who was behind the account that posted the video, but the video showed a man walking toward the Israeli embassy in Washington.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” one man said in the video, echoing language that opponents of Israel’s military action in Gaza have used to describe the campaign. “I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest.”

Standing outside the embassy gates, he put down his phone to film himself dousing himself with a clear liquid from a metal bottle. She then set herself on fire while he shouted “Free Palestine!” until he fell to the ground.

The video showed law enforcement officers approaching him shortly before the fire started. One could be heard off-camera saying, “Can I help you, sir?” Officers then scrambled for more than a minute to put out the flames.

The video was removed on Sunday afternoon and replaced with a message stating that the channel violated Twitch guidelines. It was the only video posted on the account, which had a Palestinian flag as the header image.

In the video, the man was wearing fatigues and the name he used matched the LinkedIn profile of an active-duty Air Force officer based in Texas. Authorities have not confirmed the man’s identity.

Police also investigated a nearby suspicious vehicle for explosives, but Sean Hickman, a police spokesman, said the scene had been cleared by 4 p.m. Officials from the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had worked with Washington’s explosive munitions. disposal unit to investigate the incident.

Anti-Israel protests have become a near-daily occurrence across the country since Israel began its campaign in Gaza following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that killed at least 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials. International calls for a humanitarian ceasefire have increased in recent months as the humanitarian crisis has deepened. The embassy has been the scene of sustained protests against the war in Gaza as the civilian death toll in the devastated enclave continues to rise, with more than 29,000 dead, according to local Health Ministry officials.

Protests have sometimes led to arrests, but rarely to violence. In December, a protester committed self-immolation outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta in what police said was “likely an extreme act of political protest.”

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