Mohamed Alanssi, 52, set himself on fire in front of the White House on around 2 p.m. on Monday. Alanssi was a former FBI informant who had warned the Washington Post
that he was going to burn himself, but did not disclose the location. A note was found to President Bush on him and it was reported that he performed the action because he could not visit his ailing wife in Yemen.
A man set fire to himself outside the White House on Monday, suffering serious burns before Secret Service agents extinguished the flames.
The incident took place just after 2:00pm on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the mansion's northwest gate.
TV cameras captured the immediate aftermath with medics administering first aid and the man crying out in pain. He repeatedly included the word, "Allah!"
U.S. Park Police said the man was carrying a letter for President Bush. According to police investigators, the man talked with uniformed Secret Service officers at the northwest gate before pulling a lighter from his pocket and igniting his jacket.
Alan Etter, spokesman for the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said guards at the gate quickly extinguished the flames, and the man had second- and third-degree burns on about 30 percent of his body.
Guardian via Right On Red
A man who set himself afire Monday just outside a White House gate reportedly worked for the FBI as an informant and was distraught over his inability to return to Yemen to visit his critically ill wife.
The Washington Post reported that Alanssi, who also used the name Mohamed Alhadrami, had informed the newspaper of his plans early Monday. He told The Post by fax and telephone that he was "going to burn my body at unexpected place." He also faxed a letter to an FBI agent in New York who has had contact with him, the Post reported.
In 2003, Alanssi was the subject of a Washington Post story describing his role as an informant for the FBI, providing information on terrorist financiers in Yemen.
Alanssi, of Falls Church, Va., told the Post in recent interviews that he was upset because he could not travel to Yemen to visit his ailing wife, who has stomach cancer. He also said the FBI had not kept promises it made to him to secure his assistance.
The most well known immolation event occured in 1965. Norman Morrison, a quaker, burned himself in front of the Pentagon. It received wider attention due to the fact that he had his infant daughter with him when the event occured.
Matt Sollett has more on other cases as well.
The most well known and highly publicized act of self-immolation by an American took place on November 2, 1965. Norman Morrison, a devout Quaker and father of three, immolated himself outside of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's office at the Pentagon. As if the location was not notable enough, there is another reason that Morrison's self-immolation gets more attention than other acts of self-immolation in America. Morrison brought his infant daughter with him to the Pentagon that day.
The headline of the Washinton Post on November 3, 1965 read, "Man Burns Self to Death at Pentagon, Baby in His Arms Saved from Fire Before Hundreds." The New York Times reported, "Baby of Quaker Escapes Unharmed." The November 15 edition of Newsweek took it a step further. "Morrison's macabre act of protest almost included the sacraficial murder of his own baby daughter."
Honestly though, no one is sure what exactly happened that day. The eyewitness accounts contradict each other ...
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