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Airman who set himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy in Washington dies

Israeli Embassy

WASHINGTON — An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force who set himself on fire on Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., has died, authorities said Monday.

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According to Paris Lewbel, a spokesperson for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the man was pronounced dead at an area hospital on Sunday night, The Washington Post reported. He was identified as Aaron Bushnell, 25, of San Antonio.

Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanik confirmed Sunday night that Bushnell was an active-duty airman, according to The New York Times. Further details about Bushnell’s military service were not released.

Officials said that more information will be released after next-of-kin notifications are completed, CNN reported.

Police said the incident occurred at about 12:58 p.m. EST outside the embassy.

A video shared online that multiple officials said appeared to be posted by Bushnell showed him referring to his service in the military and shouting “Free Palestine” after he set himself on fire, the Post reported.

According to the Times, the man appeared to have livestreamed his actions on Twitch, a social media platform. The newspaper was unable to confirm who was behind the Twitch account, but the footage matched the details of the incident released by the police.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” a man said in the video. “I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest.”

The man placed his cellphone on the ground and filmed himself as he sprayed clear liquid from a metal bottle onto his body, the Times reported.

According to the video, the man burned for approximately one minute and collapsed to the ground, the Post reported. Law enforcement officials stepped in to extinguish the fire.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service, said in a statement that the uniformed officers “courageously acted to render aid while safeguarding fellow first responders and the embassy.”

According to the Post, Guglielmi added that the “situation was unpredictable and occurred rapidly. In that instant, the level of threat to the public and the embassy was unknown, and our officers acted swiftly and professionally.”

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