2021 photo shared to falsely show Hamas leaders feasting during Ramadan as 'Gaza is destroyed'

By: Ishita Goel
March 18 2024

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2021 photo shared to falsely show Hamas leaders feasting during Ramadan as 'Gaza is destroyed'

A Facebook post claiming to show Hamas leaders enjoying a meal while people in Gaza are caught in a war. (Source: Screenshots/Facebook/ X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The photo was captured much before the ongoing conflict in Gaza began and shows Hamas leaders attending a celebration at the Turkish embassy in Qatar.

Claim ID 5c81505f

What is the claim?

Amid the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, marked by Muslims around the world by fasting, prayer, and reflection, an image of top leaders of Hamas enjoying a meal at a table has gone viral on social media. 

Facebook and X (archived here) users shared the image, alleging that it showed Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and former Hamas head Khaled Mashal enjoying a meal while people in Gaza were in the midst of war. The posts claimed that Gazans were not happy with this image and that they had written about this photo, saying that this is the "breakfast of the Great Satan, Haniyeh, and Rabbi Meshaal."

Another user on Facebook shared this photo along with a photo of a family having a meal on a small table amid debris ostensibly from the ongoing war, writing, "Meanwhile, during Ramadan in war zone Gaza, the Hamas leaders Haniyeh and Meshaal eating Iftar in a Qatari hotel."

Screenshots of the viral posts on social media. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, such posts make a false claim, as the photo of the Hamas leaders is neither recent nor from Ramadan.

What are the facts?

We found that the photo dates back to 2021 through reverse image search. Palestinian news website Palestinian Information Center reported on October 29, 2021, that the image showed Haniyeh, along with other members from Hamas, participating in a celebration at the Turkish Embassy in Qatar on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Türkiye (then known as Turkey).

On October 29, 2021, the Palestinian Press Agency, also known as SAFA, shared the images from the event and mentioned the same details. The reports said a delegation from the Hamas leadership, headed by Ismail Haniyeh (the second person from the left in the photo), attended the celebration and congratulated the Turkish president, government, and people.

The same image can be found on the websites of the Palestinian Information Center and SAFA,
where it was published in October 2021. (Source: Screenshots/Palestinian Information Center/Safa Agency)

Anadolu Agency (AA), reporting on the celebration on October 30, 2021, wrote that on the 98th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Türkiye, the Ankara embassy in the Qatari capital, Doha, held a celebration. The celebration was organized at the residence of the Turkish ambassador, and several Qatari officials, a few ambassadors of Arab and foreign countries, and the foreign military in Qatar attended the occasion. 

AA also noted that Haniyeh participated in a ceremony and released a statement congratulating Türkiye and wishing the country "more security, prosperity, and stability under the presidency of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

The viral photo and other photos of the event published by the Palestinian Information Centre also show Mashaal (the first person from the right in the image in question) attending the event.

Türkiye celebrates "Republic Day" on October 29 of every year, which is the anniversary of the declaration of the republic by its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in 1923.

What about the other photo?

We found that the image of a family eating is indeed from 2024. CNN and Al Jazeera shared similar images while reporting on Ramadan in Gaza. 

CNN credited the photo, which captured the same scene from a slightly different angle, to 'Ali Jadallah/Anadolu/Getty Images' and wrote that it showed a Palestinian family in northern Gaza breaking their fast among the rubble of their house, which was destroyed by Israeli bombardment, on the first day of Ramadan on March 11. 

Similarly, Al Jazeera published a zoomed-in version of the family's photo to AFP and wrote, "The al-Naji family eat an iftar meal. With aid entering Gaza by truck far below pre-war levels, and people increasingly desperate, foreign governments have turned to airdrops and are now trying to open a maritime aid corridor from Cyprus."

As documented by reports, there is a scarcity of food in Palestine, with the United Nations warning that at least 576,000 people in the enclave are on the brink of famine. The besieged Palestinian enclave— which has been under attack by Israel for nearly six months following airstrikes by Hamas—is facing starvation and destruction of the local food production system, leading to fights over food when aid arrives. 

The verdict

The viral photo shows Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal attending an event in 2021 in Qatar on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Türkiye. This is an old image, wrongly linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

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