By: Ankita Kulkarni
December 6 2023
Screenshot of social media posts claiming the video as evidence of a Palestinian boy faking injuries following his release from an Israeli jail. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
The photo shows Mohammed Nazzal, but the video is of another boy, Muhammad Shatara, meeting his mother after being released from an Israeli jail.
A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas mediated by Qatar paused the ongoing war in Gaza on November 24, allowing the release of several hostages held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The seventh day of the truce ended on November 30, and Israel struck Gaza with warplanes on December 1.
What is the claim?
Against this backdrop, multiple posts are circulating on social media (archived here, here, and here) with a set of two visuals. One shows a youth with both arms wrapped in casts, while another shows a young boy hugging a woman and a man. Posts sharing these two visuals together have claimed that they both show a boy named Mohammad Nazzal and allege that he faked his injuries.
One such post on Facebook (archived here) stated, “Palestinian man, Mohammed Nazal, who was serving a jail sentence in Israel for terror-related offenses before being exchanged for Israeli hostages, claimed both his arms were broken by Israeli police officers while in jail. After being released, he is seen embracing relatives with both of his arms in tact and perfectly normal. The post further claimed, “However, shortly after greeting his relatives his arms were placed in casts while he was paraded in several staged Hamas propaganda videos where he claimed his arms had been broken prior to his release from prison.”
Screenshot of social media posts claiming that a Palestinian boy faked his injuries following release from an Israeli jail. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, while the photo shows a young Palestinian boy, Mohammed Nazzal, the video captures another boy named Muhammad Shatara meeting his mother in a hospital after being released from Israeli prison. Therefore, the set of visuals is falsely being used as evidence of Nazzal faking his injuries.
What did we find?
Through a reverse-image search, we determined that the photo and the video in the viral posts show different people.
The boy with bandaged hands is an 18-year-old Palestinian named Mohammed Nazzal, whom Israel released amid the truce.
The image in the viral post is a screenshot taken from a video uploaded on the YouTube channel of Quds News Network (شبكة قدس الاخبارية), a Palestinian news agency, on December 1. The video was titled “Prisoner Muhammad Nazzal, who was liberated in the resistance deal, narrates horrific details about the torture to which the prisoners were subjected (translated from Arabic).” In the video, the boy can be seen interacting with the media, narrating details of the alleged mistreatment that he experienced in an Israeli prison.
YouTube video uploaded by Quds News Network.
A BBC report, published on December 1, included a different picture of him and his bandaged hands and noted that Nazzal had been held in Nafha Prison since August without any charges against him. The report added that Nazzal, who alleged that he had sustained his injuries during beatings in prison, hails from the village of Qabatiya near Jenin, in the north of the occupied West Bank.
We also found footage of the same boy speaking to multiple media houses, such as Al Jazeera and Al Arabi News, after his release. His bandaged arms are visible in all reports, and he is identified as ‘Mohammed Nazzal’ in all of them.
Screenshot showing Nazzal interacting with the Al-Arabi News outlet. (Source: YouTube/Screenshot)
It is worth noting that several social media users and the Israel Prison Service have disputed Nazzal’s claim that he was beaten in prison and alleged that he was medically fit when he left the prison (archived here and here). However, several media outlets including BBC, Al Jazeera, local media outlets, and a fact-checking organization have spoken to Nazzal and concerned hospital authorities and reported that the evidence, including medical reports and X-rays taken immediately after his release, show otherwise.
We found a longer version of the viral video posted on X by Al Jazeera Palestine on November 29. The caption states, “Freed prisoner Muhammad Shatara meets his mother in a hospital in the town of Al-Issawiya in occupied Jerusalem.” This video, which is of much better quality, clearly shows that the boy is not Muhammad Nazzal.
The exact video was also posted on X by ‘Palestine Captives’ with a caption that stated the clip showed “Freed child captive Muhammad Shatara” meeting his mother in a hospital after Israeli forces refused to release him at his home. The caption also added that Shatara suffered from some infections after being released from prison.
We also found another video featuring the boy posted by ‘Wadi Hilweh information center- Silwanic’ YouTube. The footage shows him at a hospital, speaking to the camera, and also focuses on his infections. According to the description of the video, he was narrating his experience at an Israeli detention center. At approximately 2:50, the video shifts to the clip seen in the viral posts. All the sources have noted that his name is ‘Muhammad Shatara.’
We also made a visual comparison of the faces of the boys seen in the viral image and the video. It is evident that they are different individuals and, therefore, the allegations made in social media posts are false.
A visual comparison of the two boys seen in the viral posts. (Source: YouTube/Facebook/Screenshots)
Fatabayyano, a Jordan-based Arabic-language fact-checking website, also debunked the viral claim in an Instagram post, noting that the boys seen in the visuals are different individuals.
Several accounts had shared the viral claim with the hashtag ‘Pallywood,’ a narrative popular among several pro-Israeli accounts, which alleges that Palestinians are ‘faking’ injuries, deaths, and funerals. This narrative is not new, but a Logically Facts analysis found a recent increase in such claims aimed at denying and mocking incidents involving civilian harm in Gaza. We have debunked several such claims here, here, and here.
An unrelated video of a Palestinian prisoner, Muhammad Shatara, meeting his mother and relatives at the hospital is being shared alongside a photo of a different Palestinian boy, Mohammed Nazzal, to falsely claim the latter faked his injuries after being released from an Israeli prison.