Posts about 'New Year's Day strikes in Gaza' mislead with old AFP photo

·2 min read

Following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on New Year's Day, a photo circulated in social media posts claiming it showed smoke billowing from burning buildings in the conflict zone. But the photo has been shared in a misleading context: it was originally taken by an AFP photographer on May 17, 2021, when Israeli warplanes bombarded Gaza City during a spate of deadly clashes.

"Gaza on the first night of the new year," reads a Facebook post published on January 2, 2022.

Screenshot of the misleading post. Taken on January 6, 2022. ( AFP / )

Israel targeted Hamas positions in southern Gaza late Saturday after rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave, AFP reported on January 2, 2022.

The same photo was shared in multiple social media posts that claim it was taken on January 1, 2022 -- including here and here on Facebook; and on Twitter here, here and here.

Some social media users appeared to be misled by the posts.

One commented: "Israeli version of New Year's fireworks".

Another wrote: "The two rockets from Gaza fired into the sea were probably New Year's fireworks. Any excuse to murder Palestinian innocents will do".

However, the image has been shared in a misleading context.

A reverse image search found the photo was originally published in AFP's archives here.

The caption reads: "Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17, 2021.

"Israeli warplanes bombarded the Gaza Strip overnight, said witnesses in the Palestinian enclave, from where armed groups have launched rockets into the Jewish state."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading posts (L) and the original (R):

Screenshot comparison. Taken on January 6, 2022. ( AFP / )

It was also published in a report by US broadcaster ABC News on May 18, 2021.

"Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave, May 17, 2021," the photo's caption reads.

AFP also reported here on the clashes, which killed 260 Palestinians and thirteen Israelis.

AFP has previously debunked similar claims about photos from the Gaza Strip shared in misleading contexts.

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