The photo of a deceased newborn recovered from a rubble is viral online with the false claim that it shows the aftermath of Israel's recent airstrikes on the city of Gaza. BOOM found that the claims are false and the photo is from August 2006 when Israel launched airstrikes in Lebanon's Beirut.
The death toll in Israel Palestine conflict has been climbing, with more than 2,500 deaths on both sides. The conflict began after Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack into Israel on October 7 from Gaza. The Indian government has begun 'Operation Ajay' to evacuate Indians stranded in Israel-- on October 13, 212 Indians reached New Delhi through a chartered flight after being rescued from the conflict zone.
The photo of the newborn is being shared on X (formerly Twitter) with the caption, "A family of 18 Palestinian people have been killed in Gaza by the vile, poisonous israeli regime, including 9 children."
The post is also circulating on Facebook.
Click here to view the post.
BOOM found that the claims are false and the photo is from 2006 when Israeli airstrikes were launched into Beirut, Lebanon, killing a newborn girl named Waad, among several others.
We ran a reverse image search on Google and found a post on X shared on August 17, 2013, by Turkish writer Sevda Turkusev. The post contained a zoomed out version of the viral image and was shared with the caption, "O you human beings with worthless livers and rotten souls. If you had hearts as big as babies, you wouldn't attack treacherously."
(Original text in Turkish: "Ey ciğeri beş paraetmez nefsi leş insan müsvetteleri.Bebekler kadar yüreğiniz olsaydı kalleşçe saldırmazdınız.")
Click here to view the post.
We used this image and ran a reverse image search on Google again and found the photo on Flickr, a stock photo website. The description, translated from Dutch, read, 'Body of baby Waad pulled from rubble in Beirut'
The description further mentioned how the newborn died after an Israeli airstrike destroyed a building in Beirut.
Taking a cue from this, we ran a keyword search on Google and found several photos shared by stock images website Getty that resembling the viral image. The photos, taken by Ramzi Haidar, were dated August 8, 2006 and showed the newborn from different angles.The description also mentioned how they were taken after the Israeli attack on Beirut on August 7, 2006.
We also found a story by The Guardian published on August 15, 2006, where journalist Clancy Chassay visited the Shiyyah neighbourhood of Beirut after the attack and found more information about Waad and her mother Selwa's family. The story titled 'Selwa's story' mentions how the newborn was found under the rubble, wrapped in Selwa's arms. A wedding ring was also seen on Selwa's finger.
These details were also confirmed in another picture by Getty that showed Waad in her mother's arms, and the wedding ring on her finger.
Click here to view.
The Guardian story also mentions how Chassay met Abbas, one of Waad's relatives, who was pictured "shortly after the blast, walking around holding up the body of Selwa's baby." This helped us ascertain that the man seen carrying the baby in the viral images is Abbas, a detail also mentioned in the photo description on Flickr.
The Israeli airstrike on Beirut and other parts of Lebanon came after Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group captured two Israeli soldiers in July 2006, hoping to strike a prisoner swap deal with Israel. However, Israel responded with heavy airstrikes and bombing, and the conflict continued till August 14, 2006, killing several and costing the Lebanese government damages worth $2.8 billion.