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A WOMAN has been critically injured after she set herself on fire outside of an Israeli consulate in an act of extreme protest.
The incident unfolded outside of the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta on Friday afternoon.
Atlanta police said a security guard at the consulate sustained minor burns on his wrist and legs as he attempted to stop the act.
The unidentified woman was taken to the hospital with third-degree burns on her body, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said.
Schierbaum said she was in critical condition.
Authorities said the incident was not terrorist-related and instead is being investigated as arson and as an extreme act of political protest.
The police chief said there’s no danger to any employees at the consulate.
A backpack containing what appears to be burned items was pictured lying on the scene outside the consulate, Fox News reported.
Gas was used as an accelerant, Atlanta police said.
“We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building,” said Anat Sultan-Dadon, consul general of Israel to the southeastern US.
“It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way. The sanctity of life is our highest value.
“Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act.
“We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI agents, and Atlanta police are investigating the incident.
The extreme act comes as major cities across the US and college campuses continue to struggle in handling the ongoing debate over the Israel and Hamas war, with pro-Palestine and pro-Israeli protests erupting nationwide.
Tensions have risen across the nation as antisemitic incidents in the US have spiked by about 400 percent in the weeks after the war broke out on October 7, according to the advocacy group Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The group’s center on extremism said preliminary data showed that over half of the 312 reported US antisemitic incidents from October 7 to October 23, including harassment, vandalism, and assault, were linked to the war.
“When conflict erupts in Israel, antisemitic incidents soon follow in the U.S. and globally,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told Reuters.