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US Air Force member who self-immolated yelling 'Free Palestine' outside Israeli Embassy identified

"I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it's not extreme at all," the airman said before lighting himself on fire.

Published: February 26, 2024 8:14am

Updated: February 26, 2024 8:40am

The man who died after setting himself on fire outside of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. while yelling, "Free Palestine" has been identified as 25-year-old active-duty U.S. Air Force member Aaron Bushnell after harrowing footage of the live-streamed incident emerged on social media.

Bushnell succumbed to his injuries from the protest after being hospitalized, a U.S. official said Monday, per NBC News

"I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it's not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal," Bushnell said in a video he live-streamed on the video platform Twitch as he walked in uniform toward the embassy Sunday afternoon while carrying a metal water bottle. 

The video is still available on X, formerly Twitter, but Twitch removed the channel where it was posted for violating the platform's guidelines, per The New York Times

Bushnell set down his phone in front of the embassy and walked toward the gate as he poured liquid from the water bottle over his head saying, "Free Palestine." He struggled to light himself on fire for about 20 seconds as someone off camera can be heard asking multiple times if he needed help.

After lighting himself on fire, Bushnell can be heard yelling, "Free Palestine!" at least five times while yelling and going silent 20 seconds later.

This is not the first time a person has set themself on fire in the U.S. after Hamas' Oct. 7, 2023 attack on Israel. A demonstrator self-immolated in December outside of the Israeli Consulate General building in Atlanta.

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