Photo of Iraq father carrying girl misleadingly shared in 'Pray for Palestine' posts

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After scores of children were killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza in August, a photo of a man walking down a rubble-strewn street with a young girl in his arms circulated in posts asking people to "pray for Palestine". However, the photo was taken in Mosul, Iraq in 2017. The photo has long circulated online in the wrong context, including in posts falsely linking it to the conflict in Afghanistan.

"This is really heartbreaking. Pray for Palestine," reads a Facebook post shared on August 8.

It features the hashtag #PalestineWillBeFree.

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on August 23, 2022.

Seventeen Palestinian children were killed between August 5 and 7 during a spate of intense conflict between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in the densely populated Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

The Israeli strikes, which targeted positions of the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad group, came four days after Israel closed its two border crossings with Gaza and restricted the movement of Israeli civilians living near the frontier, citing security concerns.

The photo was shared in similar posts on Facebook here and here and on Twitter.

However, the posts are misleading.

One of the posts features the logo of Reuters news agency in the top-left corner.

A reverse image search and keyword searches found the photo in Reuters's archives, which say it was taken in Iraq in 2019.

The photo caption reads: "A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017."

Below is a screenshot comparison between the photo in misleading posts (left) and the photo in Reuters's archives (right).

Screenshot comparison between the photo in misleading posts (L) and the photo in Reuters's archives (R)

The photo was published in various media reports about the conflict in Iraq, including NBC News on March 7, 2017 and BBC News on December 9, 2017.

Reuters published several photos of the same man taken from different angles here, here and here.

AFP previously debunked posts falsely linking the photo with the conflict in Afghanistan.