Here Are Some of the Most Viral Rumors Related to the Israel-Hamas War

They're related to Hamas' surprise attack on Israel on Oct.7 and the military organization's election win in 2006.

Published Nov 22, 2023

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The protracted, often bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict exploded into a hot war on Oct. 7, 2023, when the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel and Israel retaliated by bombarding the Gaza Strip. More than 20,000 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians, were reportedly killed during the first two months of the war alone. The violence is driven by mutual hostilities and territorial ambitions dating back more than a century. The internet has become an unofficial front in that war and is rife with misinformation, which Snopes is dedicated to countering with facts and context. You can help. Read the latest fact checks. Submit questionable claims. Become a Snopes Member to support our work. We welcome your participation and feedback.

Since Hamas' surprise attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers in early October 2023, swirling reports about the war have filled social media — all of which with varying degrees of legitimacy. Among some of the most debated questions were these:

Was Hamas Elected by a Majority of Palestinians in Gaza?

Adding to the divisiveness of the Israel-Hamas war, some have claimed that Palestinian civilians residing in the Gaza Strip, thousands of whom  died in Israel's retaliatory attacks, were responsible for their own fate because they had elected the militant group Hamas, which attacked Israelis on Oct. 7, to run the territory.

It's true that an election was held in 2006, and it's true that Hamas won it — but the reality of how and why that transpired, and to what degree Hamas truly represents a majority of Palestinians in Gaza, isn't nearly that simple. We wrote an explainer that we hope can deepen many people's understanding of the ongoing conflict.

Were Israeli Babies Beheaded by Hamas Militants During Attack on Kfar Aza?

This rumor goes to the fragility of truth in wartime and the way political divisiveness affects our perceptions. The claim that babies were found beheaded after Hamas' brutal attack on an Israeli kibbutz on Oct. 7 flooded social media, despite a lack of evidence that infant beheadings occurred.

We hunted down every available report and reached out to every available source to see if the claim could be corroborated.

Here's Snopes' running list of fact checks and analysis related to the war.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

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