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Israeli soldiers photo doctored with Islamic State group flag

Israeli soldiers photo doctored with Islamic State group flag - Featured image

Author(s): Bill MCCARTHY / AFP USA

An image circulating online appears to show members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) posing with the black flag of the Islamic State group (IS). But the photo is altered; the original depicts soldiers holding a green-and-yellow flag associated with their unit, which joined a June 2023 military training exercise in Morocco.

“ISRAEL IS ISIS,” says Anastasia Maria Loupis in a March 7, 2024 post on X, using another name for the Islamic State group.

Screenshot from X taken March 13, 2024

Similar posts spread across X and other platforms, including Facebook.

Loupis is one of several creators who have monetized misinformation about the war in the Gaza Strip, which broke out October 7, 2023 after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel.

Militants associated with the Palestinian Islamist group killed about 1,160 people — mostly civilians — during the assault, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory military campaign in Gaza has killed more than 31,300 people — mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

The photo circulating online has been manipulated; the original does not show the IDF with an IS flag.

Reverse image searches revealed the official IDF account on X shared the unaltered photo June 5, 2023 (archived here). It shows the troops holding a green-and-yellow flag.

The post’s Hebrew caption says the picture captures 12 members of the Golani Brigade who traveled to Morocco to participate in African Lion, US Africa Command’s largest annual military training exercise (archived here). In 2023, it involved 18 nations and about 8,000 personnel (archived here).

The Jerusalem PostJewish News Syndicate and Times of Israel also published the photo in articles about the IDF delegation joining the military drills (archived here, here and here).

The green-and-yellow flag is associated with the Golani Brigade, according to the Arabic fact-checking service Misbar. AFP found similar flags in several other photographs of the unit (archived here, here and here).

AFP has debunked other misinformation about the Israel-Hamas conflict here.

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Originally published here.