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State Department acknowledges 'depth of feelings' after US airman self-immolates at Israel Embassy

February 27, 2024 at 8:39 pm

US State Department new Spokesperson Matthew Miller speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing at the State Department in Washington, United States, May 22, 2023 [Celal Güneş/Anadolu Agency]

The State Department acknowledged, Tuesday, the “depth of feelings” being held across the nation about the war in Gaza after a US service member set himself ablaze outside of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Anadolu Agency reports.

Spokesperson, Matthew Miller, reiterated the Biden administration’s condolences to the family of Aaron Bushnell, 25, saying, “It’s obviously a horrific situation, and our most heartfelt sympathies go out to them.”

“With respect to this act or any kind of protest, obviously we’re aware of the depth of feelings that people have over this issue, and we are constantly taking those points of view into account, and using them to think about how we approach the issue, and whether there are things that we can do differently,” he said.

“That is the case whether it’s with respect to prosecutors, it is the case with respect to people that the Secretary meets with and hears from directly on all sides of this issue. So yes, we will always look at the points of view that people have, but ultimately, we have to make our own decisions based on what we think is in the national security interests of the United States and we’ll continue to do that,” he added.

Pressed by Anadolu on whether Bushnell’s death would affect US policy, Miller said, “I don’t think I should comment with regard to this specific case other than extending my sympathies to his family.”

Bushnell, 25, an active-duty member of the US Air Force, set himself ablaze in front of Israel’s Embassy on Sunday in protest of the war in the besieged Gaza Strip, and US support for the offensive. He was taken to a hospital but died from injuries he sustained.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonisers, it’s not extreme at all. “This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal,” Bushnell said in a video recording that went viral on social media.

Bushnell can repeatedly be heard shouting “Free Palestine!” as flames engulf him before he collapses to the ground.

Hundreds of people went to Israel’s diplomatic mission Monday to mourn him, including several who told Anadolu they hoped his death would spark change.

WATCH: Vigil held for US airman Aaron Bushnell outside Israeli embassy in Washington, DC