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  • False claims that the body of  a five-month-old Palestinian baby, was “a doll” went viral.
  • The Jerusalem Post, a leading Israeli news outlet, removed and  retracted its article about the “doll.”
  • This story includes graphic images.
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There has been a deluge of disinformation around the Israel-Hamas conflict, including the October 7 terror attacks and the IDF’s siege of Gaza, said a media analyst.

It was highlighted this week when verified images of a grieving grandfather holding a dead Palestinian baby were widely denigrated as “a doll” in a slew of social media posts.

Photojournalist Ali Jadallah posted an Instagram story, writing: “I shared the name of this baby, and still Israeli media are claiming he is a doll. No, he is not a doll. He is a human that was killed by Israeli airstrikes.”

Several of Jadallah’s photos were supplied to Getty Images, a respected global photo agency, for its client base of news outlets worldwide.

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Getty’s caption for the photos read: “Dead body of a 5-month-old Palestinian baby named Muhammad Hani Al-Zahar, is brought to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital by his mother Asmahan Attia Al-Zahar and grandfather Attia Abu Amra after the Israeli airstrikes at the end of the humanitarian pause in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on December 1, 2023. 32 Palestinians were killed within 3 hours of the end of the humanitarian pause in Gaza.”

The Reuters news agency also supplied the images of baby Muhammad.

Ben Goggin, NBC’s News deputy tech editor, posted a screenshot of Jadallah’s story on X and followed up by saying that the English-language The Jerusalem Post, one of Israel’s leading news outlets, had deleted there “doll” article from their website and all associated social media posts, but had not published a correction or a statement.

In a statement on X, The Jerusalem Post said: “The article in question did not meet our editorial standards and was thus removed. We regret this incident and remain committed to upholding the highest journalistic standards at all times.”

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Shayan Sardarizadeh, a journalist at BBC Verify who has carried out fact-checking and challenged disinformation during several conflicts, wrote that the flood of disinformation, fake stories, and manipulated images around the Hamas-Israel conflict was unprecedented.

He said he had never witness in a previous war, “where so much disinformation is posted with the direct intent of dehumanizing real victims of war on both sides. Dead or injured women and children, civilians, hostages, prisoners; no-one is being spared.

Sardarizadeh said that the appearance of baby Muhammad’s body was due to rigor mortis.

More than 6,000 children have been killed in Gaza since the IDF started a retaliation campaign after the October 7 terrorist attacks on southern Israel that left 1,200 people dead.

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