Enlarge image

Secret Service units near the Israeli embassy

Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP

A US Air Force pilot set himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington.

The man was taken to a local hospital after U.S. Secret Service officers extinguished the fire, the fire department said.

A police spokesman said the man's condition was critical and his injuries were life-threatening.

A spokeswoman for the US Air Force confirmed that it was an active pilot serving in the Air Force.

According to the Washington Post, the man wore his uniform during his action.

According to eyewitnesses, the man was said to have been on fire for around a minute until security forces arrived on the scene.

A video believed to be authentic by investigators shows the man describing himself as a member of the armed forces, according to the newspaper.

In the clip he is said to be shouting “Freedom for Palestine”.

The incident occurred on Sunday around 1 p.m. (local time) on International Drive NW.

There are numerous embassies and other diplomatic missions there.

The security precautions are correspondingly high.

Always protests after the embassy

The Israeli embassy has been the target of ongoing protests since the attack on Israel by the radical Islamic Palestinian group Hamas on October 7 and the Israeli counterattacks in the Gaza Strip.

The war was triggered by the major attack on Israel on October 7th by Hamas, which the EU and the USA classify as a terrorist organization.

Islamist fighters committed atrocities primarily against civilians.

According to Israeli information, around 1,160 people were killed and around 250 hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip.

In response to the Hamas attack, Israel has since taken massive military action in the Gaza Strip, with the declared aim of destroying Hamas.

According to Hamas figures, which cannot be independently verified, more than 29,600 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since then.