A set of images of an Iraqi photojournalist in tears after his football team's exit at the hands of Qatar at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup is being shared falsely linking it to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claiming that he cried while capturing photos of Israeli police storm the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem.
Three close-up images of the photographer weeping as he looks through his camera's viewfinder have been shared along with a photo of Israeli security forces storming into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on May 7, 2021. Palestinian worshippers had packed into the mosque on the final Friday of Ramadan and many stayed on to protest in support of Palestinians facing eviction from their homes on Israeli-occupied land claimed by Jewish settlers reported Al Jazeera on May 7, 2021. Several Palestinians were injured after the Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque and dispersed worshippers elsewhere in East Jerusalem.
The series of incidents led to an escalation of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians as the conflict intensified on May 11, 2021, night, as Israeli airstrikes began targeting Hamas offices in Gaza City and militants in Gaza fired rockets at the metropolis of Tel Aviv, the southern city of Ashkelon and Israel's main airport, reported the New York Times.
The set of photos is being shared with the caption, "A Photojournalist Felt In Tears While Capturing Pics In Masjid Aqsa.."
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Viral on Facebook
On searching with the same caption on Facebook, we found that the viral photos were being shared with the false claim.
A reverse image search showed the image is that of an Iraqi photographer who cried after his national side lost a football match against Qatar. Qatar beat Iraq 1-0 in the quarterfinals of 2019 AFC Asian Cup in January 2019.
We found an article by Fox Sports Asia that identified the photographer as Mohammed Al Assasawi.
We also found an interview which Al-Assawi gave to RT Arabic on his photo going viral. (At 0.37 timestamp)
BOOM had previously debunked the same set of photos of the photographer crying when it was being shared in July 2019, falsely claiming that he cried after Mahendra Singh Dhoni losing his wicket in India's ill-fated semi-final match against New Zealand in the World Cup.
On performing a reverse image search of the photo of Israeli security forces at the mosque, we found a report dated May 7, 2021, with the same photo. The caption of the photo read, "JERUSALEM - MAY 7: Israeli security forces are seen as they enter Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, intervene Muslim worshippers with stun grenade during prayer on May 7, 2021. (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)"
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