NATIONAL NEWS

Protester critically injured after setting self on fire outside Israeli consulate in Atlanta

Dec 1, 2023, 1:58 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2023, 4:12 am

ATLANTA (AP) — A protester was in critical condition Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also injured.

A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference.

He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.

“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.”

Authorities did not release the protester’s name, age or gender. The person set up outside the building in the city’s midtown neighborhood on Friday afternoon and used gasoline as an accelerant, Atlanta Fire Chief Roderick Smith said.

The protester was in critical condition, with burn injuries to the body. A security guard that tried to stop the person was burned on his wrist and leg, Smith said.

Schierbaum said police are aware of heightened tensions in the Jewish and Muslim community and have stepped up patrols at certain locations, including the consulate.

Demonstrations have been widespread and tensions in the U.S. have escalated as the death toll rises in the Israel-Hamas war.

The conflict began after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and other militants, who killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in southern Israel and took around 240 people captive. More than 15,200 people have been killed by Israel’s assault on Hamas-controlled Gaza, according to the Health Ministry there.

A weeklong cease-fire that brought the exchanges of dozens of hostages held by Hamas for scores of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel gave way Friday morning to resumed fighting between Israel and Hamas.

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Protester critically injured after setting self on fire outside Israeli consulate in Atlanta