American military officer in uniform sets himself on fire at gates to Israeli Embassy in Washington

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WASHINGTON, US – An active duty member of the U.S. Air Force sets himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide.” While on fire, he repeatedly yells “Free Palestine.”

A man believed to be an American military officer is in critical condition after setting himself on fire midday Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in D.C., authorities said.

No one else was injured in the incident, which took place just before 1 p.m. in the 3500 block of International Drive NW. A video shared online, which multiple officials said appeared to be posted by the man, shows him shouting “Free Palestine” as he burned.

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The man said he was an active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force. A spokeswoman for the Air Force, Ann Stefanek, said they had not yet identified the man or verified whether he is in the service.

Since the Israel-Gaza war began just over four months ago, at least 29,629 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack and says 240 soldiers have been killed since the start of its military operation in Gaza.

Hamas and allied fighters took more than 253 people hostage during the attack. More than 100 were freed in exchange for more than 200 Palestinian detainees during a November pause in fighting. Israeli authorities believe that more than 100 hostages remain in Gaza.

On Sunday, uniformed Secret Service officers responded to a report of a person experiencing a possible medical or mental health emergency, said Joe Routh, a U.S. Secret Service spokesman.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. You can also reach a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Disaster survivors can also reach out to the disaster distress helpline at 800-985-5990.

To support someone going through a mentally tough time: Offer a safe space to talk and listen. Validate and affirm their feelings. Don’t engage in toxic positivity. Don’t be pushy with advice. Ask how you can help.

In recent years, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation have reached historic highs, especially among children and teens. Experts say urgent reforms are needed for America’s underfunded, fragmented and difficult-to-access mental health system.

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Responding officers put out the fire before D.C. firefighters arrived, around 1 p.m., fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said. The D.C. Fire and Emergency Services department then took the man to a hospital in life-threatening condition. He remained hospitalized Sunday afternoon.

In the video, which is just over three minutes long, one person can be heard saying, “Hi, sir, can I help you?” as the man approaches the gate to the embassy.

About 12 seconds later, as a person again asks, “Can I help you, sir,” the man lights the fire.

The man burned for about a minute and collapsed on the ground, the video showed, before law enforcement began to extinguish the fire.

Authorities on Sunday afternoon said they were still investigating.

Source: Additional Agents