US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

Demonstrators light candles during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, while declaring that he

Demonstrators light candles during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

Demonstrators light candles during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, while declaring that he

Demonstrators light candles during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

A Montgomery County, Md., police car sits in the parking lot at Travelodge hotel in Silver Spring, Md., Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Aaron Bushnell of San Antonio, an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Investigators believe Bushnell had been staying at a Travelodge in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was searched Monday by federal agents, a law enforcement official said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A Montgomery County, Md., police car sits in the parking lot at Travelodge hotel in Silver Spring, Md., Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Aaron Bushnell of San Antonio, an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Investigators believe Bushnell had been staying at a Travelodge in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was searched Monday by federal agents, a law enforcement official said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana

A family walks up to the entrance of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he

A family walks up to the entrance of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

In this image taken from video, police are deployed outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, after an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force was critically injured after setting himself ablaze outside the diplomatic compound. (WJLA via AP)

In this image taken from video, police are deployed outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, after an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force was critically injured after setting himself ablaze outside the diplomatic compound. (WJLA via AP)

Posters of kidnapped people line the gates at the entrance of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he

Posters of kidnapped people line the gates at the entrance of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

In this image taken from video, police are deployed outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, after an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force was critically injured after setting himself ablaze outside the diplomatic compound. (WJLA via AP)

In this image taken from video, police are deployed outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, after an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force was critically injured after setting himself ablaze outside the diplomatic compound. (WJLA via AP)

A man walks past the gates of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he

A man walks past the gates of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

Security cameras are mounted on a pole outside the entrance of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he

Security cameras are mounted on a pole outside the entrance of the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

Demonstrators gather during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, while declaring that he

Demonstrators gather during a vigil outside the Israeli Embassy, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Washington. An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, while declaring that he "will no longer be complicit in genocide." (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) Mark Schiefelbein

Montgomery County, Md., police cars sit in the parking lot at the Travelodge hotel in Silver Spring, Md., Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Aaron Bushnell of San Antonio, an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Investigators believe Bushnell had been staying at a Travelodge in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was searched Monday by federal agents, a law enforcement official said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Montgomery County, Md., police cars sit in the parking lot at the Travelodge hotel in Silver Spring, Md., Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Aaron Bushnell of San Antonio, an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Investigators believe Bushnell had been staying at a Travelodge in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was searched Monday by federal agents, a law enforcement official said. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana

By MICHAEL BALSAMO

Associated Press

Published: 02-27-2024 2:00 PM

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide.”

The 25-year-old airman, Aaron Bushnell, of San Antonio, Texas, died from his injuries, the Metropolitan Police Department said Monday.

Bushnell had walked up to the embassy shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday and began livestreaming on the video streaming platform Twitch, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. Law enforcement officials believe he set his phone down and then doused himself in accelerant and ignited the flames. At one point, he said he “will no longer be complicit in genocide,” the person said. The video was later removed from the platform, but law enforcement officials have obtained and reviewed a copy.

Investigators believe Bushnell had been staying at a Travelodge in Silver Spring, Maryland, which was searched Monday by federal agents, a law enforcement official said. 

In a statement Monday, the Air Force said, “The individual involved in yesterday’s incident succumbed to his injuries and passed away last night.”

Later Monday, the Air Force said Bushnell was a cyber defense operations specialist with the 531st Intelligence Support Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio. He had served on active duty since May 2020. He enrolled in classes at Southern New Hampshire University, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

Col. Celina Noyes, commander the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, said: “When a tragedy like this occurs, every member of the Air Force feels it. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Senior Airman Bushnell.”

Demonstrators held a vigil for Bushnell outside the Israeli embassy Monday night.

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The incident happened as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking the cabinet approval for a military operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah while a temporary cease-fire deal is being negotiated. Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, however, has drawn criticisms, including genocide claims against the Palestinians.

Israel has adamantly denied the genocide allegations and says it is carrying out operations in accordance with international law in the Israel-Hamas war.

In December, a person self-immolated outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta and used gasoline as an accelerant, according to Atlanta’s fire authorities. A Palestinian flag was found at the scene, and the act was believed to be one of “extreme political protest.”

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Associated Press writer Tara Copp contributed to this report.