Monday, April 15, 2024

US Airman’s Fiery Protest: Aaron Bushnell Dies Outside Israeli Embassy in Washington

The Air Force declined to confirm specifics of Mr Bushnell's service, citing family notification regulations, although Stars and Stripes, a military journal, stated that he was a senior airman

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On Sunday, a US airman died after burning himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, while yelling “free Palestine.”

Aaron Bushnell, 25, was sent to the hospital after Secret Service personnel doused the fire.

Before lighting himself on fire in what he described as an “extreme act of protest,” he said that he would no longer be involved in genocide.

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According to a spokesman, no embassy staff members were wounded during the incident.

A Pentagon official described the incident, which occurred at 13:00 local time (18:00 GMT), as a “tragic event”.

Mr Bushnell, dressed in military uniform, presented himself and stated in a live video broadcast on Twitch that he was an active member of the Air Force.

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He had previously emailed many reporters, as well as left-wing and anarchist news websites. The Atlanta Community Press Collective, one of the groups that got the email, forwarded a copy to the BBC.

“Today, I intend to engage in an extreme act of protest against the genocide of the Palestinian people,” the email stated, adding that it would be “highly disturbing.”

Mr Bushnell was sent to the hospital in critical condition.

A bomb disposal squad was dispatched to the scene due to suspicions about a suspicious vehicle that may have been linked to the suspect. This was certified safe after no hazardous materials were discovered.

Washington police said they were collaborating with the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to investigate the incident.

According to a local school system statement, Mr. Bushnell of San Antonio, Texas, was reared in Massachusetts and attended public schools on the Cape Cod peninsula.

The Air Force declined to confirm specifics of Mr Bushnell’s service, citing family notification regulations, although Stars and Stripes, a military journal, stated that he was a senior airman.

Mr. Bushnell wrote on his LinkedIn page that he graduated from Air Force basic training “top of class” in November 2020 and that he had been aiming “to transition out of the US Air Force into software engineering.”

The Israel-Gaza conflict began on October 7, last year, when Hamas terrorists stormed southern Israel, murdering about 1,200 people and kidnapping 253.

Israel replied by initiating a military campaign in Gaza, which has killed 29,300 Palestinians, according to Hamas’ health ministry.

According to the United Nations, 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced as of mid-January due to Israel’s military operations, accounting for 85% of the population.

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the strike in the face of worldwide condemnation, saying America would be “doing a hell of a lot more” if it had been attacked.

This is not the first time someone has set themself on fire in front of an Israeli diplomatic post in the United States as the crisis has escalated.

A protester set himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Georgia, the United States, in December.

According to authorities, the Palestinian flag recovered at the scene was part of the demonstration.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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