Fact Check-Photos of explosions show Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not Ukraine

Social media users have mislabeled two images of overnight explosions in urban areas, claiming they are from Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. However, the images show the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Gaza Strip and were taken in 2018 and 2021.

An example can be seen (here) with the caption: “THE WAR STARTED IN UKRAINE After days of tension, today Russian troops invade eastern Ukraine and at the moment intense bombing activity is reported. Putin would have ordered to take the two pro-Russian separatist cities in Ukraine. #prayforukraine”

Russia has launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two. It has fueled fears of a massive flood of refugees fleeing Ukraine, a nation of 44 million people (here).

A reverse Google Images search revealed that the photograph seen (here), was taken by AFP photographer Mahmud Hams seen (here) with the caption: “A picture shows Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on May 10, 2021. - Israel launched deadly air strikes on Gaza in response to a barrage of rockets fired by the Islamist movement Hamas amid spiralling violence sparked by unrest at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.”

The photograph viewable (here) was taken by the same photographer, visible (here) with the caption: “A picture taken on August 8, 2018 shows a fireball exploding during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City.”

It was featured in articles by The New York Times (here) and BBC (here).

The photograph (here) does show cars driving away from Kyiv amid the conflict, as reported by The New York Times (here).

Reuters was not immediately able to locate the origin of the other photograph viewable (here).


Partly false. Photographs show Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .