Fake Gaza pic
The image shows a Thai Halloween costume Image by Facebook

Gaza ‘crisis actor’ is actually Thai child in Halloween costume

William Summers November 9, 2023

A photo captures a Palestinian crisis actor using a phone while wearing a body bag.


False. The image shows a child in a Halloween costume in Thailand.

A photo of a person looking at a mobile phone while wearing a body bag is being touted as proof crisis actors are faking civilian deaths in Gaza.

The claim is false. The image was not taken in Gaza and is not recent. The photo is of a child in Thailand wearing a Halloween costume.

It was first published on social media in October 2022, long before the most recent fighting between Israel and Hamas.

AAP FactCheck found dozens of social media posts suggesting the photo showed a Palestinian child pretending to be dead.

Some posts use the hashtags #Pallywood (also spelled #Palywood, #Paliwood or #Palliwood), a portmanteau of the words ‘Palestine’ and ‘Hollywood‘, a slur used to cast doubt on photographic or video evidence of civilian casualties.

A screenshot of the Facebook post.
 The posts are spreading false information about the Gaza conflict. 

This Facebook post (screenshot here) from October 29, for example, published the photo along with a caption that read: “#Pallywood in its finest! A ‘dead’ Palestinian child takes a break to use his smartphone.”

This Facebook post (screenshot here) from November 2 published the same photo with a caption which stated: “This Palestinian person ‘died’ in Israeli airstrike but after the attacks he remembered to use his phone.”

Claims the photo shows a Palestinian crisis actor have also appeared on other social media platforms, as seen here, here and here.

The implied claim the photo was taken during the 2023 Israel-Hamas conflict is disproved by the fact multiple social media accounts posted the image long before Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, sparking renewed fighting in the Middle East.

The original photo was first published to social media on October 29, 2022, by a woman in Thailand.

A screenshot of the original Facebook post.
 The Facebook post with the original image (bottom right). 

The image was one of four the woman included in a viral Facebook post about a Halloween fancy dress contest in Korat, Thailand.

The photo – which appears to show a child wrapped in a white cloth reminiscent of a funeral shroud, not a body bag – was also republished at the time in several Thai news reports about the contest, as seen here, here, here and here.

The photo also appeared on social media many other times before the 2023 Israel-Hamas war, including as a comical meme as seen here in November 2022, here in June 2023 and here in August 2023.

Claims the image shows a Palestinian crisis actor have been debunked by other fact-checking organisations here, here and here.

AAP FactCheck has debunked multiple claims about videos or images being linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict, including here, here, here and here.

The Verdict

Claims a photo of a child in a body bag looking at a mobile phone provides evidence of crisis actors in Gaza is false.

The image shows a Thai child dressed in a Halloween outfit in 2022.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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