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Sunday, April 21, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

US Air Force serviceman sets himself on fire in protest against Gaza war

Incident occurred outside Israeli embassy in Washington DC
Secret Service vehicles block access to a street leading to the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, on 25 February 2024, after a man set himself on fire there. AFP
Secret Service vehicles block access to a street leading to the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, on 25 February 2024, after a man set himself on fire there. AFP

A United States Air Force serviceman was critically injured after he set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington DC in protest against the Gaza war, according to international media.

“An adult male was transported by DC fire and EMS [emergency medical services] to a local hospital where they remain in critical condition,” the Metropolitan Police Department said on X, formerly called Twitter.

The incident occurred on the International Drive. According to the department, they responded to an incident around 1pm on Sunday to assist the Secret Service. The man had serious burns, fire and emergency services said.

The man remains in critical condition, a Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson said.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” said the man, wearing military fatigues, in a video he broadcasted live over the internet, according to The New York Times.

He identified himself as an active member of the US Air Force and burned himself before shouting “Free Palestine”. He was reportedly on fire for about a minute before law enforcement put it out.

He walked up to the embassy and began livestreaming on the video streaming platform Twitch, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.

The man set his phone down and then doused himself in a fluid and set it alight, saying at one point, he “will no longer be complicit in genocide” the source told AP. The video was later removed from the streaming platform.

An air force spokesperson confirmed to Agence France-Presse that the man was an active member but gave no further details.

The incident comes as several Congressmen and rights activists demand the US to call for a ceasefire.

At least 29,692 Palestinians have been killed and 69,879 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct 7, the health ministry said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Last month, a group of protesters chanted slogans for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict as they interrupted US President Joe Biden during his campaign speech at a historic South Carolina church.

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“If you really care about the lives lost here, you should honour the lives lost and call for a ceasefire in Palestine,” one of the protestors in the church said when the US president was speaking.

According to Deborah Harrington, who volunteered in a Gaza hospital, the people in Gaza have nowhere to go and they are getting less and less.

“I feel ashamed and shocked that we’re doing this to fellow humans,” she said in an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN on January 20. “I am a daughter. My whole career and reason for getting up in the morning is to help people.”

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