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stated on December 4, 2023 in a video on Facebook:
Video shows woman embracing and kissing “a doll,” evidence of “Hamas street theater propaganda exposed.”
true false
Sofia Ahmed
By Sofia Ahmed December 11, 2023
Rebecca Catalanello
By Rebecca Catalanello December 11, 2023

No, a woman mourning her deceased infant son is not holding a 'doll’

If Your Time is short

  • A journalist who photographed this scene identified the infant as 5-month-old Muhammad Hani Al-Zahar, who had been killed. 

  • The Jerusalem Post published an article Dec.1 headlined, "Al Jazeera posts blurred doll, claims it to be a dead Palestinian baby," before deleting the article and issuing a statement a day later that it shared an article with "faulty sourcing." 

Editor’s note: This fact-check contains references and links to graphic images from the Israel-Hamas war.

In a Facebook video, a woman weeps as she holds her swaddled infant close to her cheek. She rocks and kisses the baby as a crowd looks on.

A Facebook post shared the video and claimed the infant was not real.

"More Hamas theater propaganda exposed," text across the video read. The Dec. 4 post’s caption described the video as showing "a peculiar scene where a lady passionately embraces and kisses a doll."

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The video does not depict a doll. We fact-checked a similar claim about this baby, but the image called into question in that instance showed an older man holding the child.

Featured Fact-check

Here’s how we know the claim is wrong: As part of his work documenting the Israel-Hamas war, photojournalist Ali Jadallah captured a series of images of the deceased infant boy Dec. 1 in Gaza; the baby was held by his mother and grandfather. The images were distributed by Getty Images with the caption: "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." 

The Jerusalem Post spread the claim that the baby was a doll with an article it published Dec. 1 headlined, "Al Jazeera posts blurred doll, claims it to be a dead Palestinian baby." The news site later deleted the article and issued a statement on X the following day saying the article had "faulty sourcing:" "The article in question did not meet our editorial standards and was thus removed," the statement said. The Jerusalem Post did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment. 

Jadallah shared the photo on his Instagram story with the caption, "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."

We rate the claim that this video shows a woman embracing and kissing "a doll" False. 


Our Sources

Facebook post, Dec. 4, 2023

PolitiFact, "No, a Palestinian man holding his deceased grandson is not actually holding a ‘doll’," Dec. 8, 2023

TikTok post (archived), Dec. 5, 2023 

Getty Images, "Israeli attacks resume at Gaza after humanitarian pause," Dec. 1, 2023  

Jerusalem Post (archived), "Al Jazeera posts blurred doll, claims it to be a dead Palestinian baby," Dec. 1, 2023 

X post, Dec. 2, 2023 

X post, Dec. 2, 2023 

X post, Dec. 1, 2023

Instagram post, Oct. 13, 2023

Agence France-Presse, "No evidence that a video features a doll rather than a dead child in Gaza," Oct. 18, 2023

Science Direct, "Rigor Mortis," accessed Dec. 7, 2023

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More by Sofia Ahmed

No, a woman mourning her deceased infant son is not holding a 'doll’

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