Wounded Palestinians arrive at Al-Shifa Hospital (file image)
Wounded Palestinians arrive at Al-Shifa Hospital following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City. Image by AP PHOTO

Images show Palestinian boy, not a doll

David Williams November 6, 2023

Hamas posted footage of a doll claiming it was a child victim of Israeli bombing in Gaza.


False. The journalists who shot the footage and photos say it shows a four-year-old boy.


Social media users claim viral footage and photos of a Palestinian child killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza is actually a doll.

This is false. Journalists who shot the footage and photos told AAP FactCheck the images are real, verifying it is of a four-year-old boy killed on October 11, 2023.

An example of the claim is this Instagram post, which shares video footage of people running into a hospital and a man holding a child’s body in a shroud.

“Hamas shared a video by mistake, which is now removed, of a doll that counted as one of the babies killed by IDF attack,” the post states.

Multiple Facebook accounts make the same claim, as seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The claim was also made on the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Facebook account, the X account of the Israel Embassy in France and the Facebook account of the Israel Embassy in Cyprus.

Mohamed Abed's photo of Omar Bilal Al-Banna
 AFP photographer Mohamed Abed’s photo from outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. 

But the photojournalist in Gaza who shot the original video and posted it to his Instagram account has said the claims are false.

Momen El Halabi says the child was four-year-old boy Omar Bilal Al-Banna, who lived in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, east of Gaza.

“It’s true, it’s true,” El Halabi told AAP FactCheck over WhatsApp.

“I filmed the clip myself. I have pictures and information.”

El Halabi shared multiple photos with AAP FactCheck showing the child at the moment of shrouding in the morgue at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

In the photos, the boy is held by a man in a grey polo shirt who is also seen in the footage in the Facebook posts, carrying the boy from the morgue. The disturbing images El Halabi provided clearly show the boy is not a doll.

El Halabi said Omar was killed in an Israeli airstrike on October 11.

“This video was taken at Al-Shifa Medical Hospital in Gaza City,” he said.

El Halabi said he had covered the war in Gaza from the beginning and was at the hospital when Omar was brought in.

Photojournalist Mohammed Abed, who works for international news agency AFP, also confirmed the video shows a real boy, not a doll.

Abed’s photos of the scene outside the hospital morgue were uploaded to the Getty Images website, here and here. Those photos show the same man in the grey polo shirt holding Omar’s body.

Photojournalist Momen El Halabi

Abed provided AAP FactCheck with a screenshot of an Instagram story he uploaded with a similar photo to those uploaded to Getty Images.

Text on the story states: “This picture not a doll, its (mine) i took it at Al-Shifa hospital, and it’s the very truth.”

“This is my story at Insta, you can use it,” Abed told AAP FactCheck.

“This body is Omar, not a doll at all.”

Abed verified a statement he gave to AFP Fact Check, in which he said: “This photo was taken at Al-Shifa Hospital, next to the morgue, where victims were kept.

“Of course, they were taken out of the morgue so that their parents could kiss them while waiting for the car that would transport them to the cemetery.

“In this photo, the man stood holding the child in his arms, next to the body of another person lying on the ground.

“The child’s face is very clear. This is the corpse of a real child, a victim killed in bombardment (air strikes), definitely not a doll.”

Abed also verified as factual the details of a BBC article that investigated whether Omar’s death was real or faked by Hamas.

The article quotes Omar’s mother Yasmeen saying: “They have no right to say he is a doll.”

Other fact-checking organisations have also debunked the claim, here, here and here.

The Verdict

Claims that Hamas posted footage of a doll claiming it was a child victim of Israeli bombing in Gaza are false.

The journalists who took the footage and photos have independently verified the child in the video was Omar Bilal Al-Banna, who was killed on October 11.

They have provided other photos to AAP FactCheck showing it is a boy in the shroud, not a doll.

False — The claim is inaccurate.

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