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Gaza Tunnel Photo Mislabeled on Social Media

Este artículo estará disponible en español en El Tiempo Latino.

Quick Take

A photo taken in January shows a large tunnel under Gaza’s northern border with Israel, reportedly used in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. But recent social media posts falsely claim that the photo shows a tunnel connecting Egypt with the southern Gaza city of Rafah — where Palestinians displaced by the Israel-Hamas war have been sheltering.

Full Story

More than a million people fleeing the Israel-Hamas war had been sheltering in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah when, on May 26, the Israeli military struck a refugee encampment, killing at least 45 — most of whom were women and children — according to the Gaza health ministry.

That strike, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “tragic mishap,” and worsening conditions in Rafah have kept the area in the news. Now, it is the target of misinformation.

Israel closed the border with Egypt on May 7, shutting off a major route for humanitarian aid and depriving people there of food and medicine. On May 24, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Israel to end military operations in Rafah and open the border, which Israel has not done.

A photo taken on Jan. 7 shows the inside of a tunnel that Hamas reportedly used on Oct. 7 to attack Israel through the Erez border crossing in Northern Gaza. Photo by Noam Galai via Getty Images.

Now, posts are circulating on social media that claim to show a picture of “One of 50 Tunnels the size of motorways Israel has discovered connecting Rafah to Egypt.”

Social media users are responding to the posts with messages that indicate the tunnel justifies Israel’s actions in Rafah. For example, one user wrote, “No wonder they resisted Israel’s invasion of Rafa! They all new what was under cover there! Go for it Israel, consume anything along your path to victory!”

But the picture actually shows a tunnel that was photographed in January on the opposite end of the Gaza Strip at the Erez border crossing into Israel.

The caption accompanying the original photo, as shown on the Getty Images website, says: “A view inside a tunnel that Hamas reportedly used on October 7th to attack Israel through the Erez border crossing on January 07, 2024 in Northern Gaza. As the IDF have pressed into Gaza as part of their campaign to defeat Hamas, they have highlighted the militant group’s extensive tunnel network as emblematic of the way the group embeds itself and its military activity in civilian areas.”

The Israeli military said it has found multiple tunnels on the southern end of Gaza, which borders Egypt. That corridor “served as the oxygen line of Hamas through which Hamas carried out weapons smuggling into Gaza on a regular basis,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, Israel’s military chief spokesperson, said in May.

But the photo circulating in these social media posts does not show one of those tunnels.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.


United Nations. “Conditions in Gaza are ‘unspeakable’ as one million people flee Rafah: UNRWA.” 3 Jun 2024.

Mackintosh, Thomas and David Gritten. “Dozens reported killed in Israeli strike on Rafah.” BBC. 27 May 2024.

Goldenberg, Tia, Melanie Lidman and Samy Magdy. “Netanyahu says deadly Israeli strike in Rafah was the result of a ‘tragic mishap.’” Associated Press. 28 May 2024.

United Nations. “World court orders Israel to halt military operations in Rafah.” 27 May 2024.


Galai, Noam. “Israeli Forces Highlight Alleged Hamas Infrastructure In Northern Gaza.” Getty Images. 7 Jan 2024.

PBS. “Israel seizes control of strategic Gaza land border, claims area is awash in smuggling tunnels.” 30 May 2024.