US Air Force member sets himself on fire at Israeli embassy

Henry

An active member of the US Air Force set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington on Sunday, with media reporting that he was protesting against the war in Gaza.

Emergency service workers were called to the scene just after 20:00 (South African time) after receiving a call from a “person who is on fire outside the Israeli embassy”, a message from the city’s fire service on X read.

Once there, members of the US Secret Service, tasked with protecting US political leaders, visiting heads of state and others, had already extinguished the flames. The man suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital in a critical condition.

An air force spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the man is an active member of the air force, but did not provide any further details.

According to a spokesperson for the Israeli embassy, ‚Äč‚Äčnone of its staff were injured during the incident. The man is also “unknown” to them.

American media reported that the man apparently broadcast the events live on Twitch. He was dressed in uniform and declared that he was not “going to be complicit in genocide” before he poured a liquid over himself. He then set himself on fire and shouted “free Palestine” until he collapsed on the ground.

AFP could not confirm this footage and the New York Times has confirmed that it has been removed from the Twitch platform.

The incident comes amid growing protests in the US against Israel’s actions in Gaza, where the country is carrying out a counter-attack after the October 7 attacks by Hamas militants.

The death toll in Gaza stands at nearly 30,000 at this stage, according to the Hamas-run health department. There is also growing pressure on the US to convince its ally to agree to a ceasefire.