Photo of IDF Major General misidentified as 'bulldozer operator killed by Hamas' in Gaza

By: Ishita Goel
February 2 2024

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Photo of IDF Major General misidentified as 'bulldozer operator killed by Hamas' in Gaza

Social media posts claim that the image shows a female soldier killed in the Gaza war. (Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The photo is of Major General Sharon Perry, the first female IDF soldier to engage in Gaza conflict as a Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer operator.

Claim ID 00f3e744

What is the claim?

A photo of a female soldier, purportedly identified as "Israeli Lieutenant Nitan," standing before a bulldozer has gone viral on social media. The posts claim the image captures her in Gaza, where she inscribed the words "I came to Gaza to make history" on her bulldozer.

Further allegations suggest that her bulldozer was destroyed by an al Yassin missile — a Hamas-developed anti-tank weapon — the following day, resulting in her death. This narrative has been widely circulated by several pro-Palestine users on Facebook and X, with archived links provided for reference here and here.

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

However, contrary to the circulating claims, the woman in the photograph is indeed an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier stationed in Gaza, but the details surrounding her identity and fate contain several inaccuracies.

Who is the female soldier?

A reverse image search reveals that the soldier depicted is not "Lieutenant Nitan" but Major General Sharon Perry. The Israeli website Hazinor shared the image on Facebook on January 26, 2024, praising Perry as the first combatant to operate the D9 bulldozer, now active in the Gaza Strip.

Similarly, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the image on X on January 26, 2024, highlighting Perry as the inaugural female soldier to engage in the Gaza conflict as a Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozer operator. A comparison of images from the Ministry and the viral post confirms they depict the same individual.

Comparison of images of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel and viral post. (Source: Screenshot/X/Modified by Logically Facts)

Israeli news website Ynet also published both the viral image and another photo of the same woman, identifying her as Perry, in a report published on January 26, 2024. The photo was credited to IDF spokesperson Gadi Kabelo.

Ynet, who made a documentary video of her journey to becoming a fighter, also reported that before crossing the fence into the Gaza Strip on January 3, 2024, Perry had taken a selfie from the fighters' cell in D-9 and sent it to her friends with a WhatsApp message: "I came in to make history." 

However, the writing seen on the bulldozer in the viral photo is unrelated to the message Perry reportedly sent to her friends. 

Logically Facts contacted the Israel Embassy in India and was told by spokesperson Guy Nir that the words inscribed on the tank actually translate to: "Girl on a D9." Nir also told Logically Facts, “Nitan is not a name in Israel. Her name is Sharon Perry. Her rank is Major General.” He also added that there was no basis for the claim that she had been killed. 

Images of Perry on the Ynet website. (Source: Screenshot/YNet)

The verdict

An image of IDF Major General Sharon Perry standing in front of her bulldozer has been shared with incorrect context. She has been misidentified as ‘Lieutenant Nitan’ in the viral posts accompanying the photo. Further, there are no reports of her being killed or her D-9 bulldozer being destroyed. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before