Cropped picture does not show the dead body of Israel’s top sniper

26 January 2024
What was claimed

A photograph shows the dead body of Israel’s top sniper.

Our verdict

Incorrect. The soldier in the photograph is not dead. He is resting.

An image circulating on social media sites including X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook claims to show the dead body of Israel’s “deadliest sniper”. 

One post is captioned: “Captain ‘Shafas Lavier’, the deadliest sniper in the #Israeli Army and commander of the Golan Brigade’s sniper unit, killed by a Qassam sniper.

“Called a week ago to target the terrifying Hamas sniper in Khan Yunis, but he became the target instead!” Other posts use similar wording or make more general comments

The posts all feature an image of a man in military uniform lying on his back with his eyes closed and a rifle by his side. He does not have any visible injuries. 

The photograph is actually a cropped version of an image that appeared on the website of the Washington Post on 13 October 2023 and shows a group of Israeli soldiers resting on a patch of grass at Kibbutz Be’eri

The recent social media posts are therefore misleading as the man pictured is not dead. Other reports feature the same photo and confirm the soldiers in it are resting. 

In addition, there is no evidence the man pictured is Israel’s “deadliest sniper”, and Full Fact has not been able to find any reports of a soldier called Captain Shafas Lavier serving in the Israeli army. Searching for the name only leads to other examples of the same post. 

Similar stories featuring different names for the supposed Israeli sniper have been the subject of other fact checks in the past. 

Full Fact has written about many examples of misinformation relating to the war in Israel and Gaza, particularly images and videos that have been miscaptioned. It’s important to consider whether something shows what it claims to show before sharing it online. You can find information on how to do this in our guides on spotting misleading images and videos.

Image courtesy of Specna Arms

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