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The Twitter account of Israel (MFA) has [archive link, the original tweet was deleted] this slightly odd claim:

Hamas accidentally posted a video of a doll (yes a doll) suggesting that it was a part of casualties caused by an IDF attack.

For the NSFW weary: the video depicts a child- or adolescent-sized body, wrapped in a white sheet with some blood on its face, but the face has a rather waxy color. The body is being handled in a hospital setting both inside and at an entrance. (Possibly this might have been a training exercise?)

I've been unable to find more detail on where Hamas supposedly released that and what they actually claimed. As for that being a doll, I'm not 100% convinced either, from the rather low-res video. (Sometimes embalmed bodies do have a waxy color. But in that case, it normally shouldn't have blood too.)

So, given the number of western-outlet journalists on the ground in Gaza (and which often take footage in quite a similar setting at hospital entrances and even inside), is there confirmation or infirmation of this story from some other sources that don't simply repeat the Israel MFA (there's plenty of those, be sure)?

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    "embalmed bodies do have a waxy color" — Neither Jews nor Muslims follow that practice. And if it it's a Christian, why would someone be rushing into a hospital with an embalmed body? Oct 17, 2023 at 19:43
  • @RayButterworth: I see. But how that I've read up on that, the Muslim practice seems to require to wash the body before burial, so if it's dead (and that's a funeral shroud) it shouldn't have blood on the face. Oct 17, 2023 at 19:50
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    From the footage it's clear that the body is supposed to be of a child that was either just brought to the hospital or just declared dead after the medical staff couldn't save their live. So any answer that claims that the body is prepared for burial is wrong. Now just two questions remain, is it a doll or an unusually looking body, and secondly was this footage released by Hamas claiming to depict a grieving father over his child. The movie American Sniper also has an awful looking doll taking the place of a baby, but it's not claiming to be a real life footage.
    – SIMEL
    Oct 18, 2023 at 18:06
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    From more recent footage in Gaza, it looks like they often released dead bodies full of blood stains. I guess they don't have enough water to wash them, per tradition aljazeera.com/news/liveblog/2023/10/31/… Nov 1, 2023 at 5:59

1 Answer 1

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According to the BBC it was a real person, not a doll:

The first online post I saw about Omar's death was from a pro-Israeli account on X (formerly known as Twitter). It included a video, featuring a man in a grey polo shirt holding a small child's body, wrapped in a white blanket or cloth. I would later discover this child was Omar.

In the accompanying caption, the person who shared the clip declared: "Hamas is desperate!" They added falsely that the group - classified as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK and other powers - had "released a video showing a dead Palestinian baby. But wait for the catch. It's not a real baby; it's a doll".

According to X, that post containing the video and false claims has been seen 3.8 million times. The allegations it made were then amplified by the State of Israel's official account on X.

It shared a new post, this time featuring that same video of the child in the white blanket - and then a still from the same video, circling the child's face.

In the caption, the account wrote: "Hamas accidentally posted a video of a doll (yes a doll) suggesting that it was a part of casualties caused by an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] attack."

I tracked the original footage back to the Instagram page of a Palestinian photographer, Moamen El Halabi. He filmed the original video of the man in the grey shirt holding Omar, and I got in touch with him.

I also made contact with another photojournalist, Mohammed Abed - who works for the AFP news agency - who was there at the same time. He took a photograph of the same man holding what appears to be the same child, wrapped in the white sheet. That photo has since been uploaded to the Getty Images website. [...]

They both told me, categorically, that the child pictured had not been a doll, but a real little boy - Omar Bilal al-Banna. They also shared additional images, which I have matched up with Moamen El Halabi's original video footage to verify the child's identity.

[...] It seems that part of what made people think what they saw was a doll, rather than a child, was the colour of Omar's skin in the photograph. But Mr Abed said he had photographed several children killed in strikes in Gaza and their skin looked similar.

FWTW, there is also a photo in the piece showing Omar's complexion while alive.

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    BBC is totally biased - so I wouldn't count on them
    – Roee Anuar
    Oct 30, 2023 at 7:54
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    @RoeeAnuar - You have not said what direction the "total bias" goes in, or provided evidence for it. Since the linked article describes two cases, one Israeli and one Palestinian, where the BBC states that there were real 4-year old boys killed when social media claimed they were dolls, presumably the BBC bias here is pro-human and anti-social media.
    – Henry
    Nov 8, 2023 at 10:46
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    @Henry If BBC can't call Hamas a terrorist group - the bias is obvious.
    – Roee Anuar
    Nov 15, 2023 at 8:29
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    @RoeeAnuar The BBC regularly states that Hamas is a proscribed terrorist group under UK law, for example in this article and at bbc.co.uk/news/uk-67100274 without using the word terrorist every time they mention Hamas. I do not remember them always labelling the previous prime ministers of Israel, Menachem Begin or Yitzhak Shamir, as terrorists despite one having been a leading member of Irgun and the other of Lehi. Perhaps that is the BBC approach to balance. Does your distrust of the BBC make you think the body of murdered Omer Siman-Tov may also have been a doll?
    – Henry
    Nov 15, 2023 at 9:09
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    @RoeeAnuar From the sounds of the article, this is a stance that the BBC takes on all terrorist groups, not just Hamas specifically. The BBC strives to be neutral in its reporting, and sometimes that makes it seem biased towards one side simply because it isn't condemnatory enough, but that doesn't mean that's the case.
    – F1Krazy
    Nov 15, 2023 at 11:37

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