Fact-Check: This Image of Two Children Sleeping in Gaza During the Rain Is Created by AI

Last year (2023) on October 7th, the Palestinian militant group Hamas began an attack on Israel, named “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”. This attack initiated the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. On January 26th, heavy rainfall flooded a refugee camp in Gaza. In this context, netizens have been sharing a photo on their social media accounts and pages, showing two children sleeping on the muddy ground in front of a tent.

Some posts claim that the photo, supposedly from Gaza during a harsh winter, is not an artist’s drawing but a real image.

Gaza

See related Facebook posts here (archive), here (archive), here (archive), and here (archive).

See related X posts here (archive), and here (archive). 

Fact Check

The investigation by the Rumor Scanner team reveals that the photo circulated claiming to show two children sleeping in Gaza due to the rain is not real but created using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

At the beginning of the investigation, a post (archive) related to this was found on the Instagram account of Palestinian photojournalist Mohammad Al Mashri, published on January 27th.

Mr. Mashri shared this photo along with several others depicting the miserable life of children in Gaza during the rain in his post.

In the caption, he wrote, “Imagine with me, you human! Imagine that these children are your own. Imagine that these children are your siblings. Imagine with me that these children are your relatives. In Gaza, in the tents of the displaced, children, women, and the elderly die a thousand times every second!”

Screenshot: Instagram 

It’s not clear from Mr. Mashri’s post whether the photo is real or created by AI. However, after he published this photo, it began to spread on the internet, and later, he removed it from his post.

Observations revealed several inconsistencies, such as the number of fingers, and abnormalities in the nose and ears, which match those found in images created by AI tools.

Image analysis: Rumor Scanner

The Palestinian fact-checking organization Kashif also reports similar observations.

The co-founder of Kashif, Rihab Abu Aita, informed Rumor Scanner that the photo was created using AI. However, it was not determined who created it. Initially, the photo began to gain attention on the internet after a photographer published a real photo of children in a tent.

Kashif communicated with Mohamed Al-Masri, who informed them that the photo was indeed created using artificial intelligence.

Bottom Line

A photo purported to depict two children sleeping on the muddy ground in front of a tent in Gaza, which was widely circulated on social media as a representation of the hardships faced due to heavy rainfall and the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, was actually created using Artificial Intelligence (AI). The investigation into the photo’s authenticity, initiated by the Rumor Scanner team and further examined by the Palestinian fact-checking organization Kashif, revealed inconsistencies typical of AI-generated images. Despite initial claims of authenticity and the photo’s emotional impact, it was confirmed that the image is not real but is instead an AI fabrication.

So, a photo created using AI, depicting two children sleeping on the muddy ground in front of a tent in Gaza, has been circulated on the internet as a real image; which is misleading.

Sources

RS Team
RS Team
Rumor Scanner Fact-Check Team
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