Image does not show Israeli soldier who died by suicide after attack by fellow troops

27 February 2024
What was claimed

A photo shows an Israeli soldier named Sarah Awidan—who took her own life after being subjected to gang rape and was hidden in army barracks by the Magellan brigade in Gaza for several days.

Our verdict

The photo is of Sergeant Noa Lazar who was shot at a checkpoint in East Jerusalem in 2022.

A post widely shared on social media falsely claims to include a photo of an Israeli soldier who took their own life after being raped.

The post, which has been shared across Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter), includes a photo of a young woman in military attire.

A caption with one post says: “Today's scandal: The tragic suicide of the soldier ‘Sarah Awidan’ after being subjected to a gang rape and hidden in one of the army barracks in the ‘Magellan’ brigade in Gaza for several days. The Israeli army is the most morally corrupt in the world. Shameful… #Gaza #Israel."

But the woman pictured is not “Sarah Awidan”, and Full Fact could not find evidence of a soldier of this name dying in the way described while serving in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). 

There is no public record of a group named the “Magellan brigade” within the Israeli armed forces, although there is a Maglan Unit which is part of its commando brigade.

Full Fact has contacted Israel’s Ministry of Defence about the details of the claim, and will update this piece if we receive a response.

In recent months we have seen several instances of social media posts claiming to show soldiers who have died or been killed fighting for the IDF, which use pictures of different people.

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Who is pictured?

The soldier in the photo is Noa Lazar, who was 18 when she was killed in a shooting attack which also wounded a civilian guard at a checkpoint near the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem on 8 October 2022. 

Promoted posthumously from corporal to the rank of sergeant following her death, Sergeant Lazar was serving as a member of the military police’s Erez battalion.

The man Israeli police allege to have killed Sergeant Lazar, Udai Tamimi, was shot dead on 18 October 2022 after reportedly firing at security guards in the West Bank. 

We’ve seen misinformation relating to the Israel-Gaza conflict appear in many different forms, including fake subtitles, altered official documents and misleading videos

You can find more of our work countering false claims on the subject here, and  information on how to do this in our guides on spotting misleading images and videos.

Image courtesy of Israel Defence Forces

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