Rejected asylum seeker sets fire to himself in Germany

A rejected asylum seeker from Iran suffered serious injuries when he set fire to himself at a town office in Germany, authorities said.

Police said the 35-year-old man entered the office in Goeppingen, a town near the south-western city of Ulm, at midday and asked two employees for help, showing them papers indicating his application for asylum had been rejected.

Staff members assured him they would help, but the man became aggressive and then pulled a bottle out of his backpack, poured liquid over himself and set fire to it as the two workers fled, Ulm police said.

A third worker grabbed towels from a housekeeping cart and suffocated the flames.

"Everybody heard the screams," local government worker Guenter Stolz told reporters.

Police said the man was rushed by helicopter to a hospital where he is being treated for severe burns. They did not reveal his name.

They have opened an investigation.

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