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The New York Times mistakenly used an image of a different girl to identify Rahaf Al-Masri, a 10-year-old who was killed in an Israeli airstrike around May 10 in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, along with her three young cousins.
The photographer, Maiar Abu Shalback, told us the photo is of a girl named Salma from the Palestinian city of Ramallah and that it was taken in October 2015 at Al-Awael School. Salma is alive and in good health, Shalback said.
The Times issued a correction about the photo on its website and featured a different image for Al-Masri that was provided by her family.
Nearly 70 children were reported to have been killed during an 11-day battle in May between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. Sixty-seven were killed in Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Two children were killed in Israel from rockets sent by Hamas.
On May 28, the New York Times published a print article that featured a front-page collage of images of the children who were killed.
But a recent post by a Facebook page called "Stop Antisemitism" claims there’s a discrepancy with one of the images, and alleges that the newspaper used an outdated stock photo to represent one of the children.
"SHAMEFUL," the post says. "The New York Times publish a 2015 stock photo of a young girl claiming Israeli forces killed her during last week's war with Hamas."
The social media post includes an image of the Times’ front page with a red line drawn from one of the images in the collage — a photo of a smiling young girl with dark hair — to a screenshot of the same image in a social media post from 2017. "Apparently we ‘killed’ her twice," a caption reads. A separate image included in the post shows screenshots of web search results that bring up the same photo on Pinterest, an image-sharing platform.
A Facebook post says the New York Times used a 2015 stock image of a young girl and claimed that Israeli forces killed her during recent conflicts.
While the photo appeared on some image-sharing services, it’s not necessarily a stock image. The Times did mistakenly use an image of a different girl that was taken in the Palestinian territories in 2015 to identify Al-Masri.
The newspaper issued a correction about the photo in print and on its website, and replaced the inaccurate photo with an image of Al-Masri that was provided by her family.
The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information. We rate this Mostly True.
CORRECTION, June 3, 2021: The claim we checked here was made on Facebook on May 29, 2021. An earlier version of this story included the wrong date.
Facebook post, May 29, 2021
New York Times, They Were Only Children, May 26, 2021
New York Times, Corrections: June 1, 2021
Facebook post by Maiar Abu Shalback, Oct. 14, 2015
Message from Maiar Abu Shalback, June 2, 2021
Email interview, Danielle Rhoades Ha spokesperson for the New York Times, June 2, 2021
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