Footage of woman with genetic disorder being claimed to show Israeli phosphorus injuries

23 February 2024
What was claimed

A video shows a woman injured by a white phosphorus “bomb” dropped by Israel.

Our verdict

This isn’t correct. The woman in the video has Xeroderma Pigmentosum—a rare genetic disorder which results in an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation.

Warning: links in this article contain potentially upsetting footage. 

A video shared online falsely claims to show a woman injured by an alleged “Israel” white phosphorus “bomb”.

The clip, which has been reposted on X (formerly Twitter) and is also circulating on Facebook and Instagram, shows a woman wearing a veil with damage to her face and eyes.

A caption with one of the videos says: “This woman is a victim of white phosphorus bombs dropped by Israel.”

However, the footage does not depict what is claimed, and is unrelated to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

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Where is the video from?

The footage was originally uploaded to the Instagram page of the Moon Voice Association, a not-for-profit organisation based in Morocco, on 4 February 2024. The logo of the organisation also appears in the top left corner of the subsequently shared videos.

The association supports children and adults with Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP)—a rare genetic disorder which results in an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation, both in sunlight and some artificial lighting.

The condition mostly affects the eyes and areas of the skin exposed to the sun, and can cause premature ageing and blindness. People who have XP are also much more likely to develop multiple skin cancers throughout their lifetime.

The woman featured in the clip being shared with an incorrect caption has appeared several times in videos on the association’s Instagram page. 

In one video she is identified as being called Shaima, and the translated caption says she is “visually impaired due to illness to all the children of the moon”.

Sufferers of XP are sometimes known as ‘children of the moon’, due to the risk of them going out during the daytime without protection, as they must avoid sunlight and its UV rays.

The Moon Voice Association provides support and protective measures to people in Morocco with XP, including UV-filtering masks

What is white phosphorus?

White phosphorus ignites when in contact with oxygen in temperatures above 30°C. It is often used by militaries to illuminate battlefields, to generate smokescreens and sometimes as an incendiary. However, it could be considered a war crime if it were dropped on a civilian area.

The World Health Organisation says that white phosphorus is harmful to humans, both through physical contact—which can cause deep and severe burns—and by breathing in smoke from burning phosphorus.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused Israel of using white phosphorus artillery in the Gaza Strip during the current Israel-Gaza, citing videos they have verified and interviews as evidence. 

In response to claims in October, the Israeli military reportedly described the accusation as “unequivocally false”. Following further claims in December Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reportedly said: “The IDF and the entire security establishment acts according to international law. That is how we have acted and how we will act.”

Full Fact has seen many examples of online misinformation relating to the conflict in Israel and Gaza, including a video with incorrect subtitles claiming to show a Palestinian woman saying ‘we’re prisoners of Hamas’, and footage of a bulldozer hitting civilians that was alleged to show recent events in the region, but was actually from Egypt in 2013.

You can read more in our guides on identifying misleading images and videos.   

Image courtesy of Lima Andruska

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