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Viral picture does not show Israeli sexual violence victim from 7 October attack

Image surfaced as early as 2022 and does not depict Israeli victim from Supernova Music Festival

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Claim: A picture shows a semi-naked Israeli rape victim from the 7 October Hamas attack; it depicts a dead woman lying face-down in a patch of grass, without trousers.

Fact: The image does not show an Israeli rape victim; it was, in fact, uploaded online in 2022, more than a year before the Hamas attack and has nothing to do with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Some reports claim that the victim was a Ukrainian or a Kurdish soldier.

[Trigger warning: This fact-check contains content pertaining to an alleged sexual assault; therefore, we have blurred relevant screenshots.]

On 8 November 2023, Soch Fact Check came across a website that appears to document evidence of the 7 October Hamas attack. It included a picture (archive) of a dead woman lying face-down in a patch of grass, with no trousers and her undergarments visible.

The picture, which is not available on the “hamas-massacre.net” website anymore, was titled, “Nova Party victim, raped and then killed.” The bottom portion of the page mentions the Supernova Music Festival and how the attack allegedly unfolded, as well as a note that the “hard-to-watch scenes from the massacre” are “confirmed and validated to be authentic”.

Interestingly, Israel’s official X (formerly Twitter) account, @Israel, shared (archive) the link to the same website on 2 November 2023. “Please RT this and help us make sure that the world knows what happened,” it urged.

What’s going on in Gaza?

On 7 October 2023, the Izzeddin al-Qassam Brigades — the military wing of Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza — launched (archive) a “surprise attack” on Israel via sea, land, and air. In response, the Israeli government formally declared (archive) war on Hamas on 8 October 2023.

According to a 19 December 2023 update by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 19,600 Palestinians have been killed and over 52,500 injured since the 7 October attack. Similarly, at least 1,200 Israelis have been killed and upwards of 5,400 injured.

Ever since the 7 October attack, a flood of misleading, old, and out of context pictures, videos, and claims have surfaced in the media.

Fact or Fiction?

We reverse-searched the image and landed on a website called Carro Groce, which claims to publish content that is “not broadcast in Japanese domestic media”, some of which is gory. The website published the image (archive) on 31 May 2022.

The same link was also shared (archive) by The Grayzone Editor Max Blumenthal.

Looking further, we also found a 28 March 2022 tweet (archive) that carries the same image. However, the post has now been removed as it “violated the X Rules”, as per a notice that appears when the link is opened.

We also came across a 15 November 2023 tweet by X user @trappedsoldier (archive), who wrote that the photo’s source “is a tasteless Japanese photo collection site, which describes the death of a ‘Kurdish female soldier’ in action”.

Describing the website that published the image of the woman, “hamas-massacre.net”, the Romanian news website R3media (archive) wrote in an article titled, “Parlamentarii români vor avea ocazia să vizioneze materialele de propagandă ale Israelului [Romanian parliamentarians will have the opportunity to view Israel’s propaganda materials]”:

“The only problem is that it is not an impartial, credible source. That site was created by Israel and contains only material approved by Israel. The fact that it is not a credible source is easy to prove.”

X account @FakeNewsDetctor also shared (archive) screenshots from the Carro Groce website.

While we cannot confirm where and when these images were taken, they can be found online as early as March 2022, so they cannot be from the 7 October 2023 Hamas attack. 

Virality

Soch Fact Check found the claim shared here, here, here, here, and here.

Israel’s official X account also posted (archive) the false claim, writing, “Two dead women on the grass at the Nova music festival without pants (one with her underwear half on, the other without underwear).”

A similar tweet was posted by Jewish News Foreign Editor Jotam Confino, who wrote (archive) that the content in question was shown in “another screening by Israeli authorities for foreign journalists”.

“Two dead women lying on the grass at [a] musical festival – both with no pants on. One has her panties taken half off. The other doesn’t appear to have any on at all,” Confino added, describing what was shown to him.

It also appears that Cochav Elkayam-Levy, the chair of Israel’s Civil Commission on Oct. 7th Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children, shared the same image in a “talk for Harvard’s Maimonides Society” on 12 November, according to Blumenthal (archive), The Grayzone Editor.

Conclusion: The image does not show an Israeli rape victim. In fact, it was uploaded online in 2022, more than a year before the Hamas attack and is not from the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Some reports claim that the victim in the image was a Ukrainian or a Kurdish soldier.


Background image in cover photo: Johannes Schenk


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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