Copycat fears as second veteran self-immolates

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The Independent Online

A wheelchair-bound war veteran set himself alight at a bus stop near Tel Aviv yesterday, sustaining serious burns, two days after a protester died of injuries from a similar incident.

Police and medics said the man was in his 50s and that passers-by put out the flames that engulfed him. He suffered burns over 80 per cent of his body.

Dudi Gilboa, a member of an Israeli disabled veterans group who knows the man, said: "His story is a difficult one. His emotional and economic situations weren't easy."

Mr Gilboa told Israel Radio that he and the man had been embroiled in a dispute with authorities in charge of rehabilitating wounded veterans.

"We have mourned our friends in battle; we don't want to lose them like this," Mr Gilboa said, echoing the concerns of many in Israel that the 14 July self-immolation of Moshe Silman, at a march against rising housing and food prices, might be copied.

Mr Silman, 57, who was left destitute after a number of failed business ventures, died of his injuries on Friday.