Does a Viral Photo Show a Young Palestinian Girl Crying After an Israeli Strike?

The picture is from 2018.

An image that has gone viral on social media purportedly shows a young girl crying while carrying an armful of books after an Israeli bombing. For the last week, Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel, and Israel has responded with attacks on Hamas operatives and facilities. Violence escalated over the weekend and, from The Morning Dispatch, “A series of Israeli airstrikes took out buildings the Israeli government said were related to Hamas militants and their ability to attack civilians in Israel. Meanwhile, scores of rockets fired by Hamas filled the skies over the Gaza Strip, with many intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and others landing on Israeli soil.”

However the picture is not, from any recent counterattacks launched by Israeli forces against Hamas; it has been circulating online since 2018 and has periodically resurfaced since then. The picture was taken by Fadi A. Thabet, a Gaza-based photographer. Thabet’s captions from his Instagram posts of the picture don’t reveal anything about the background of the image beyond that it was taken in the Gaza Strip. One caption reads, in part: “Share this photo of this little girl from Gaza Strip to send a message to the free world that the occupation is the worst of what humanity has ever produced.” Thabet did not respond to a message asking for background about the picture. 

While what’s occurring in the viral picture is not clear, this picture does not show a Palestinian girl reacting to an Israeli rocket strike in 2021. 

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