Photo shows Israeli air strikes in Gaza, not Russia attack on Ukraine

CLAIM: Photo shows explosions from Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The image was captured in May 2021 and shows Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

THE FACTS: As Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, images and videos flooded social media platforms claiming to show live footage of the invasion.

But one image of a fiery explosion hitting buildings under a night sky depicts Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip in May 2021, not Russian air strikes on Ukraine in February 2022.

Facebook users shared the image with the caption, “The invasion of Ukraine has begun.” However, a reverse-image search shows it was taken in May 2021 and was captured by the AFP photographer Mahmud Hams.

A caption for the image on the website for Getty Images describes the picture as showing “Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on May 10, 2021.”


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.