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Hamas blames US for death of ‘heroic’ airman Aaron Bushnell who set himself on fire over Gaza

Hamas has expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the relatives and friends of US airman Aaron Bushnell, saying the US should be held responsible for his death.

Bushnell, a US airman, set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington as a protest against the war in Gaza.

Hamas expressed solidarity with the pilot’s family in a statement published on Telegram on Monday, saying “he immortalised his name as a defender of human values and the oppression of the suffering Palestinian people because of the American administration and its unjust policies”.

The statement added that Bushnell had paid with his life to highlight the “massacres and Zionist genocide” against Palestinians.

Who is Aaron Bushnell and why did Hamas issue a statement on him?

  • Aaron Bushnell was a US airman who lit himself on fire to protest the war in Gaza
  • Bushnell’s death on Monday sparked solidarity vigils across the USA
  • Hamas recognized Bushnell as a defender of the Palestinian cause

The statement also likened Bushnell to US activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while trying to protect a Palestinian home in Gaza from demolition.

Twenty-five-year-old Aaron Bushnell was a serving member of the US military when he set himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, on Sunday to protest Israel’s war on Gaza, which has already claimed more than 29,000 Palestinian lives. 

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” Bushnell said in a video livestreamed during his self-immolation.

“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 then repeatedly shouted “Free Palestine!” as flames engulfed him. He was transported to the hospital, but died from his wounds shortly after.

Vigils were held to honour his life in various cities across the US on Monday evening.

Bushnell’s self-immolation has sparked controversy after his death with some dismissing it as suicide as the consequence of mental illness, while others described it as a heroic act of protest.

One of the messages posted at a vigil in San Francisco read: “Sane man in an insane world.”

Source: The New Arab