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Destroyed houses are seen in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, southern Israel, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP) Destroyed houses are seen in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, southern Israel, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP)

Destroyed houses are seen in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, southern Israel, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP)

Katie Sanders
By Katie Sanders October 20, 2023

Editor’s note, Nov. 14, 2023: A few weeks after we published this Oct. 20 story (Headline: Israel-Hamas war: How politicians, media outlets amplified uncorroborated report of beheaded babies), we learned that we neglected some available information that would have shaped our reporting differently. We are reviewing the additional information and plan to publish a new story about the reports of beheaded babies after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Rather than leave the original version online, we have archived it in English and Spanish as we complete the review. PolitiFact goes to great lengths to provide accurate and comprehensive reports. When we fall short of our standard, we want to clarify the record thoroughly and transparently.

Update, Nov. 21, 2023: We have published a new story and editor's note.

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Our Sources

Interview with Dina Sadek, Mideast research fellow for the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, Oct. 18, 2023

Email interview with Osamah Khalil, Syracuse University history professor specializing in the modern Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, Oct. 12, 2023

Email exchange with a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, Oct. 12, 2023

PolitiFact, "Amid images and news of actual war, false and misleading claims about Israel-Hamas thrive," Oct. 11, 2023

The Washington Post, "Israel-Gaza War Live Updates," Oct. 18, 2023

The Washington Post, "What is Islamic Jihad, the group Israel blames for Gaza hospital strike?," Oct. 19, 2023

The Associated Press, "Israel-Hamas war live updates," Oct. 19, 2023

Euronews, "How children are used to spread disinformation about the Israel-Hamas War," Oct. 17, 2023

NBC News, "Unverified reports of ‘40 babies beheaded’ in Israel-Hamas war inflame social media," Oct. 12, 2023

CNN, "Israeli official says government cannot confirm babies were beheaded in Hamas attack," Oct. 12, 2023 

The Intercept, ""Beheaded Babies" Report Spread Wide and Fast — but Israel Military Won't Confirm It," Oct. 11, 2023

CNN, "Babies and toddlers were found with "heads decapitated" in Kfar Aza, Netanyahu spokesperson says," Oct. 11, 2023

NBC News, "White House clarifies Biden's claim he saw photos of terrorists beheading children in Israel-Hamas war," Oct. 11, 2023

YouTube, "Did Hamas behead babies? | Al Jazeera Fact Check," Oct. 16, 2023

BBC News, Inside Kfar Aza where Hamas militants killed families in their homes," Oct. 11, 2023

ABC News, "The 'horrendous toll' on children caught in the Israel-Gaza conflict," Oct. 11, 2023

The New York Times, "Hamas Leaves Trail of Terror in Israel," Oct. 18, 2023

NBC News, "2 Americans held by Hamas have been released," Oct. 20, 2023 

Vox, "Hamas, the militant group that attacked Israel, explained," Oct. 10, 2023

Vox, "Don't believe everything you see and hear about Israel and Palestine," Oct. 18, 2023

The Jerusalem Post, "Photos of babies being burnt, decapitated confirmed," Oct. 12, 2023

The Independent, "Kfar Aza: Inside the Israeli border village where ‘babies were slaughtered’ in Hamas attack," Oct. 11, 2023

The Daily Mail, "Hamas terrorists 'beheaded babies during kibbutz slaughter where 40 young children were killed': IDF soldiers reveal families were killed in their bedrooms - 'not in war, not a battlefield... a massacre'," Oct. 10, 2023

i24 News, "Smells Of Death Here': Surveying The Scenes Of Atrocities In Kfar Aza," Oct. 10, 2023

YouTube, "Secretary Blinken holds a press availability in Tel Aviv, Israel," Oct. 12, 2023

State Department, "Secretary Antony J. Blinken At a Press Availability," Oct. 12, 2023

State Department, "Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu After Their Meeting," Oct. 12, 2023

YouTube, "Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre," Oct. 12, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, "X post," Oct. 12, 2023

Digital Forensic Research Lab, "In Israel-Hamas conflict, social media become tools of propaganda and disinformation," Oct. 12, 2023

Digital Forensic Research Lab, "Network of South Asian Twitter accounts spreading Israel-Palestine war disinfo," Oct. 18, 2023

YouTube, "President Biden Delivers Remarks," Oct. 18, 2023

The White House, Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel Before Bilateral Meeting | Tel Aviv, Israel," Oct. 18, 2023

Full Fact, "Video of children in cages predates Hamas attack on Israel," Oct. 17, 2023

Oren Ziv, X post, Oct. 11, 2023

Samuel Forey, X post, Oct. 11, 2023

Marc Owen Jones, X post, Oct. 11, 2023

Nicole Zedeck, X post, Oct. 10, 2023

Nicole Zedeck, X post, Oct. 10, 2023

Ted Deutch, "X post," Oct. 10, 2023

Facebook video, Oct. 12, 2023

Facebook post, Oct. 13, 2023

Instagram post, Oct. 13, 2023

Instagram post, Oct. 10, 2023

TikTok video, Oct. 10, 2023

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More by Katie Sanders

PolitiFact reviewing story about beheaded babies (See editor's note)