A man carries an injured child in southern Gaza (file image)
Social media users are spreading misinformation to downplay Palestinian casualties in Gaza. Image by EPA PHOTO

Iraqi artist’s video misused as ‘Pallywood’ propaganda

Blair Simpson-Wise March 5, 2024

A video shows crisis actors faking Palestinian casualties in relation to the ongoing war in the Middle East.


False. The 2019 clip is from a behind-the-scenes video of a Baghdad photographer's artistic depiction of war in Iraq.

Footage of a photoshoot featuring soldiers rescuing an injured boy has been slapped with the “Pallywood” tag, with social media users claiming it proves Palestinians are faking war casualties.

This is false. The video shows behind-the-scenes footage of a photographer’s artistic project in Baghdad in 2019.

The photographer told AAP FactCheck the footage was not connected to the war in Gaza and to say otherwise was “a lie”. His account is supported by the use of Iraqi military uniforms in the clip.

The video was used in this Facebook post (archived here), showing the photographer ripping a young boy’s shirt, wrapping bandages on his arm and painting him with fake blood.

He places the boy between two men dressed as soldiers under a lighting softbox in front of a fire before he starts taking photos.

A screenshot from the Facebook post.
 The posts are spreading disinformation about the conflict in the Middle East. 

A user shared the post with the caption “Pallywood – for the cameras – victims” in a Facebook group called #BEP – Boycott the Enemy – Promote Israel.

Pallywood is a portmanteau of the words “Palestine” and “Hollywood“, and is used to suggest Palestinian crisis actors fake injuries or deaths for the media.

In another post, the video caption says: “Pallywood. When you see these staged scenes out of gaza (sic) it makes you question everything.”

The video has also been shared in other posts with the tag “Pallywood” (here, here, here and here).

A screenshot from the photographer's original TikTok video.
 The photographer’s video shows how he creates his shots. 

However, the video is not new and is not from Gaza.

Iraqi photographer Murtada Fallah, who goes by the name “Snowy Photographer” online, posted the video on TikTok in December 2022, 10 months before the current Gaza conflict began in October 2023.

It shows the process of the photographer creating his images. He also shared the photograph, the end result of the shoot, in this post (video mark 17sec).

The Arabic captions of these posts do not suggest the video or the photo depict the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Mr Fallah sent AAP FactCheck a video responding to the Facebook posts’ claims, which an Arabic-speaking journalist at AAP translated.

He explained the video was from a 2019 photoshoot about the war in Iraq and said any claim it was connected to the conflict in Gaza was “completely wrong”.

“This is neither Gaza nor Palestine … they are in Iraq in the year 2019, and in Baghdad specifically, and anything published regarding these scenes in the Israeli media is all a lie,” Mr Fallah told AAP FactCheck.

An enhanced image of the badge on the uniforms the models are wearing.
 An enhanced image of the badge on the uniform matches Iraqi military. 

His account is supported by the uniforms worn by those posing as soldiers in the clip.

A shoulder badge is visible on one of the soldier’s uniforms.

When enhanced, it shows a yellow and green patch with a brown eagle.

A reverse image search reveals it matches the logo of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, which is not involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

AAP FactCheck has debunked multiple social media posts purporting to show Palestinians faking casualties or using crisis actors – examples here, here, here and here.

The Verdict

The claim a video shows crisis actors faking Palestinian casualties in the ongoing war in the Middle East is false.

The video was filmed in Baghdad in 2019 and was first posted online 10 months before the current war in Gaza.

A uniform in the video matches that of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, which fits with the photographer’s explanation that the shoot was related to war in Iraq.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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