Israeli photographer 'horrified' at use of bloody shoe photo

  • 17 December 2014
bloody shoe

It's a tragic, heartbreaking image - but not for the reason you think.

A photo of a small child's bloody shoe has been widely shared on Twitter and Facebook in the wake of a Taliban attack on a school in Pakistan that's left at least 135 people dead - most of them children.

One tweeter says: "This image says its all #PeshawarAttack".

But the photo is not recent. A search on the photo-lookup site TinEye reveals it has been used in the past by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Image caption Edi Israel took another photo of the same shoe in Ashkelon in 2008, following a Palestinian rocket attack on Israel.

BBC Trending tracked down the photographer, Edi Israel, who says he took the photo while working as a freelancer in Ashkelon in May 2008. In that incident, a rocket was fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel, injuring dozens.

"I'm horrified to know that the picture has moved to Pakistan, and that it's being used like that," Edi Israel says. "This is a known phenomenon that people take a photo from one place and use it like it was elsewhere."

The "recycling" of shocking photos is indeed common on social media in the wake of attacks - for instance we reported on the sharing of old images under the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack earlier this year.

Edi Israel says he photographed the bloody shoe after it was dropped on the ground in a mall by a mother and daughter who were injured in the Ashkelon rocket attack. They both survived the incident; Israel visited them in hospital the following week.

The photographer, who has a long career in the region, says he wasn't aware his picture was being passed around in connection with the Peshawar attack until he was contacted by the BBC.

Meanwhile, another picture has been circulating online of victims of the Peshawar massacre - but the montage of images includes the photo of a young boy, Noah Pozner, who died in the Sandy Hook massacre in the United States in 2012.

Reporting by Gemma Newby

h/t Richard Vadon and Samiha Nettikkara

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