Claim: Photo of tearful Palestinian child with book in hand shows aftermath of recent Israeli airstrikes in Gaza
Before Israel and the militant group Hamas reached a ceasefire, at least 230 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed during air strikes over an 11-day period. The conflict has produced many images of death and destruction, some of which show children.
However, not all of the photos posted online depict the recent violence.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, a photo shows a young girl crying as she holds a stack of papers. The image was released on May 14 in a public Facebook group with over 250,000 members.
“These innocent people are looking for their books and notebooks after the Israeli attack,” the caption reads.
Checking the facts:Viral video does not show Hamas organizing child funeral
USA TODAY could not verify the location of the photo, but the image does not show the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. The photo dates back to at least 2018.
Photo from 2018, not mid-May
It is not known where and when the photo in the Facebook post was taken, but it cannot be a representation of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip as it is over two years old.
The photo that USA TODAY was able to find online was first seen on December 7, 2018, when photographer Fadi Abdallah Thabet posted it on his Instagram page. Thabet’s photo and Facebook photo have his watermark in the lower left corner.
In his 2018 article, Thabet claimed ownership of the photo and said it showed a “little girl from the Gaza Strip.”
“Share this photo to be an icon of the right to education and life, share this photo of this little girl from Gaza to send a message to the free world that the occupation is the worst of what the humanity has ever produced, and that children around the world see their rights preserved in accordance with international agreements, ”says the caption.
The Facebook user who shared the post told USA TODAY in a post that the photo was from eastern Gaza. USA TODAY could not independently verify where or when the photo was taken, but online archives prove the photo was not taken after the recent airstrikes in Gaza.
USA TODAY has contacted Thabet for comment.
Our rating: False
The claim that a photo of a Palestinian child in tears shows the consequences of recent Israeli bombing in Gaza is FALSE, our research shows. The photo has been circulating online since at least December 2018. There is also no evidence that the photo captures the aftermath of a bomb attack.
Our sources of fact-checking:
- Fadi Abdullah Thabet, December 7, 2018, Instagram post
- Twitter user @jjaber, November 18, 2019, Tweeter
- Twitter user @_SJPeace_, May 22, 2020, Tweeter
- Google Reverse Image Search, accessed May 18
- USA TODAY, May 20 Israel, Hamas agree to ceasefire after hundreds of deaths in Gaza
- Associated Press, May 21 Israel, Hamas agree ceasefire to end bloody 11-day war
- Facebook user M. Faheem, May 14 Facebook message
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Our fact-checking work is funded in part by a grant from Facebook.