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Protester sets self on fire outside Israeli consulate in Atlanta

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  • VIDEO COURTESY AP

  • ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION VIA AP
                                Atlanta Fire Chief Rodrick Smith, center, and others leave the scene after a protester set themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Friday, Dec. 1.

    ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION VIA AP

    Atlanta Fire Chief Rodrick Smith, center, and others leave the scene after a protester set themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Friday, Dec. 1.

ATLANTA >> 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. 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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