IDF Instagram of child in crosshairs was from February

IDF Instagram photo from February

Another old photo causes outrage on social media – so how reliable are the #GazaUnderAttack images?

LAST UPDATED AT 10:08 ON Mon 21 Jul 2014

An image from earlier this year of a Palestinian child caught in the cross-hairs of an Israeli sniper's rifle has gone viral – again.

The picture was posted to Instagram by Israeli Defence Force soldier Mor Ostrovski in February last year and was widely discussed and condemned.

The image was initially discovered in by the news site Electronic Intifada, which reports on the conflict in Gaza from a Palestinian perspective. They described the image as "disturbing, tasteless and de-humanising" and said it promoted "the idea that Palestinian children are targets".

But following the bloodiest day of the conflict so far, the image has re-emerged on social media.

Some Twitter users were quick to point out that the image was not from the most recent outbreak of violence, but by then the picture had already been shared hundreds of times.

Some users appeared to accept that the image had been recycled, but insisted the Israeli military continued to show a similar attitude towards Palestinians.

Images from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are often re-cycled, a BBC investigation found. Some of the images under the popular hashtag #GazaUnderAttack are from previous conflicts in Gaza and others are from separate wars in Syria and Iraq.

One user who posted an inaccurate image under the hashtag told the BBC she deleted it as soon as she realised it was from Syria, but the image had already been re-tweeted countless times.

"It's disappointing that images get shared quite quickly," she said. "I guess that's the different between the internet and credible newspaper publisher where pictures are from a source." · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.