What We Know About Claims That Israel Lured and Shot Palestinians Utilizing Drones Taking part in Recordings of Crying Infants

What We Know About Claims That Israel Lured and Shot Palestinians Utilizing Drones Taking part in Recordings of Crying Infants

On April 16, 2024, the outlet Center East Eye reported on alleged acts of cruelty by the Israeli Protection Forces in opposition to residents of Al Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza involving armed quadcopter drones luring would-be good Samaritan Palestinians into the streets with the sounds of crying infants and capturing them:

Israeli quadcopters are using a “weird” new tactic of taking part in audio recordings of crying infants and ladies in an effort to lure Palestinians to places the place they are often focused.

On Sunday and Monday night time, residents of the northern components of Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp woke as much as the sounds of infants crying and ladies calling out for assist.

After they went outdoors to find the supply of the cries and supply support, Israeli quadcopters reportedly opened hearth straight at them.

That reporting, by journalist and activist Maha Hussaini of the nonprofit Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, adopted on-line claims about such drone assaults, and concerned interviewing witnesses on the bottom within the besieged refugee camp. Snopes can neither affirm nor exclude the likelihood that these occasions occurred as described.

Whereas the declare has a number of facets attribute of both rumor or propaganda, the notion just isn’t on its face absurd based mostly on the IDF’s previous use of drones and their present technological capabilities. Neither EuroMed Monitor’s Hussaini nor the IDF responded to Snopes’ requests for remark or clarification.

The Accusation

In response to EuroMed Monitor’s reporting, these ways had been employed on the nights of April 14 and 15. The earliest point out on social media of drones taking part in crying toddler noises that Snopes has recognized appeared on X, the place two accounts made the identical declare concurrently on April 14, at 11:49 p.m. Gaza time.

What We Know About Claims That Israel Lured and Shot Palestinians Utilizing Drones Taking part in Recordings of Crying InfantsWhat We Know About Claims That Israel Lured and Shot Palestinians Utilizing Drones Taking part in Recordings of Crying Infants

Quds Information Community is a Palestinian youth-run media outlet. Mariam from Gaza is a well-liked X account that shares breaking information about Gaza. It’s unclear which of those two accounts’ tweets was first, or whether or not both tweet was a response to the opposite.

Video footage of the alleged observe emerged on social media the following night time. The earliest occasion of somebody sharing a video on X purporting to doc the drones taking part in prerecorded audio got here at round 1:30 a.m. Gaza time on April 16, in a post from an account described as belonging to a pro-Palestinian activist:

This video has since gone viral. The model shared above has acquired greater than 1 million views, on the time of this reporting, as has a model of the video produced by Center East Eye that had been shared alongside Hussaini’s reporting. So far as Snopes can discern, that is the one video used as proof to assist the declare that these drones had been taking part in prerecorded toddler crying noises.

On April 16, Hussaini printed her report in Center East Eye, citing eyewitnesses who stated seven to 10 individuals had been injured in drone assaults the earlier night time. She printed the testimony of two residents of the Al Nuseirat camp. The primary stated she heard the sound of a lady crying and screaming coming from a drone:

Samira Abu al-Leil, a resident of the refugee camp, instructed Center East Eye that she heard Israeli quadcopters opening hearth throughout and shortly after taking part in the recorded sounds, which lasted for a number of minutes and recurred a number of occasions on Monday night time. “I heard a lady crying and screaming for assist, saying, ‘Assist me, my son was martyred’. The sounds had been coming from the road and so they had been weird,” the 49-year-old stated. …

“At night time, the streets are often empty and males are inside their properties,” Leil added. “When the quadcopters open hearth, they solely hit the roofs and streets, they do not discover any individuals to shoot. So that they performed these sounds as a result of they know the character of our society; they know that males had been going to attempt to present assist. They wished them to exit in order that they may shoot them,” she stated.

The second witness stated he heard the crying child noises, however didn’t enterprise to look as a result of he has heard warnings in regards to the observe:

Muhammed Abu Youssef, 19, instructed MEE that at round 2am on Monday he heard the cries of infants. Nevertheless, since individuals had been posting on social media to boost consciousness of the supply of those sounds, he selected to not enterprise outdoors.

“There have been totally different sounds coming from the quadcopters. They had been making noises; some recordings had been understandable and a few weren’t. They lasted for round 30 to 60 minutes, then the quadcopters began opening hearth and firing bombs within the neighbourhood,” he stated.

“We didn’t exit, as a result of we discovered that these had been solely recordings performed by the quadcopters to lure us to exit.

On April 20, Al Jazeera printed an interview with a witness to the drone actions at Nuseirat. It’s unclear whether or not this is similar individual talked about in MEE’s reporting, however the testimony is almost equivalent.

The accusations in opposition to the IDF require the context of their weeklong army incursion into the the Al Nuseirat camp, which was ongoing throughout this time interval and ended April 18.

The Context: An 8-Day Marketing campaign in Northern Gaza

The Al Nuseirat refugee camp is within the northern a part of the Gaza Strip. On April 10, the IDF started an eight-day army operation within the space of that camp that resulted in widespread destruction, in response to Gaza’s media workplace. As reported by Turkish information outlet Anadolu Ajansi on April 18:

The Israeli military withdrew from the northern a part of the camp on Wednesday following an 8-day army operation. … The civil protection company stated heavy equipment is required to extract the our bodies of useless individuals from underneath the particles of destroyed buildings.

In response to Gaza’s authorities media workplace, 75 individuals had been killed, 348 injured and 100 others went lacking through the Israeli operation, along with the destruction of 13,000 housing items within the camp.


Palestinians dwelling in Nuseirat Refugee Camp acquire the usable objects among the many rubble of the destroyed buildings after Israel withdrawal on April 18, 2024. Streets and alleys are affected by the rubble of buildings after the devastation by Israeli assaults (Picture by way of Getty Photographs).

Legitimate Skepticism: An City Legend Repurposed as Propaganda?

There are causes to be cautious of those claims. Regardless of the declare being considered or shared tens of millions of occasions, there are few recognized eyewitnesses to the occasions. There seems to be just one video purporting to point out the drones taking part in the audio of crying infants.

Regardless of the looks of widespread corroboration, the claims as they’ve been reported will be traced to the phrases of only a few people amplified by activist accounts on social media.

On high of these causes, you will need to observe that the declare that one’s enemy is so evil that they’d use the sound of a crying toddler as bait is each a long-held urban legend and a propagandistic declare seen leveled in opposition to enemy combatants all through time.

Actually, the IDF leveled a virtually equivalent and equally unverified declare in opposition to Hamas in December 2023, as reported by The Washington Put up, going as far as to make use of it as a protection for his or her firing on and killing Israeli hostages within the early days of the battle:

In current days, the IDF has reported that its troopers have been listening to recordings of weeping and folks talking Hebrew — makes an attempt, commanders consider, to trick the Israeli troopers to seek for hostages close by. The IDF has not launched these recordings.

Some analysts recommend that wariness of such traps might need been an element within the IDF’s mistaken killing of three Israeli hostages in Gaza final week — that the troops had been spooked and too quick to fireside. … “Booby traps, dolls, crying, individuals talking Hebrew,” stated a lieutenant colonel in an IDF reconnaissance unit. “We’ve been well-briefed.”

The officer, who spoke on the situation of anonymity underneath guidelines set by the IDF, stated his unit was despatched lately to research a constructing in central Gaza the place he stated rocket components had been manufactured and a few troopers heard “recordings of crying” however couldn’t discover the supply. The IDF destroyed the constructing.

Whereas none of those info is sufficient to conclude the drone assaults described by Al Nuseirat camp residents usually are not actual, they’re vital sufficient to benefit pause.

Invalid Skepticism: Does the IDF Have This Expertise?

Whereas there are legitimate causes to be skeptical of the declare, some skeptics have asserted that it’s inconceivable for the IDF to have carried out night time assaults utilizing gun- or grenade-mounted quadcopters, as described in media studies. These strains of reasoning are demonstrably flawed.

The IDF has developed a collection of high-tech drones which have recurrently been used within the current Gaza battle. Although the declare of utilizing crying toddler audio is new, the declare that drones carrying weapons that fireside single focused photographs are part of the IDF arsenal is as outdated as the current battle. In November 2023, the Telegraph reported on armed drones “patrolling” round a hospital in northern Gaza:

The Israeli army is utilizing remote-controlled quadcopters geared up with rifles to patrol the perimeter of Gaza’s hospitals, say medical doctors. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a British-Palestinian surgeon working on the Al Ahli hospital in northern Gaza, stated the drones had been hovering in “the neighborhood of the hospital” and had been firing “single bullets.”

“We’ve had wounded come and say that it has been firing at individuals within the streets,” he stated in a voice message to The Telegraph on Monday. “We are able to hear it. This afternoon it was actually spooky. It is like a drone sniper and it flies very low.”

The Israeli arms producer Elbit Techniques, which gives quadcopter drones to the IDF, advertises a drone-based, partially AI-informed tactical weapons platform for quadcopter drones generally known as Fowl of Prey. The under description is from a February 2024 launch:

The Fowl of Prey is an agile, compact and absolutely stabilized weapon system for drone platforms, designed to reinforce infantry squad lethality past its detection and engagement vary with stand-off warfare capabilities. … The light-weight and foldable system is designed to be carried, deployed, and operated by a single soldier, becoming into an infantry backpack. …

The system helps a spread of modular multi-role and multi-caliber armaments whereas maximizing flight time and mission size. Fowl of Prey options superior algorithms and autonomous capabilities together with built-in autonomous goal recognition (ATR) to detect, classify and observe targets throughout the area of view (FOV) day and night time.

An Elbit video additionally demonstrates the expertise with each gun-mounted and grenade launcher-mounted quadcopter drones. In response to this promotion, the system is ready to survey and determine targets by itself, but it surely requires a human to authorize a strike:

This method matches witness accounts of quadcopter drones firing single photographs and dropping explosives. Elbit programs and the IDF have traditionally labored intently on the event of this form of drone expertise.

In 2021, as reported by the Occasions of Israel, an until-then secret unit of drone operators and troopers — along with Elbit programs — examined the offensive use of swarms of drones throughout an 11-day marketing campaign in Gaza in 2021:

In a single use of synthetic intelligence, the Israeli army deployed small flocks of quadcopter drones over the southern Gaza Strip with every machine monitoring a selected patch of land, The Occasions of Israel discovered on the time. When a rocket or mortar launch was detected, different armed plane or ground-based items attacked the supply of the fireplace.

In the course of the 11-day marketing campaign, dubbed Operation Guardian of the Partitions, [the] unit labored with the Elbit protection contractor, which manufactured the drones, and different items throughout the IDF to refine its capabilities in actual time.

For these causes, the declare {that a} quadcopter drone might function at night time and be armed with a rifle is believable. For EuroMed Monitor’s half, the group has been crucial of the IDF’s drone use since earlier than these April 2024 incidents in Al Nuseirat. In a February 2024 report, the group acknowledged:

Israel’s military has elevated its use of electronic-controlled quadcopters — which had been beforehand restricted to make use of for intelligence functions — for killing and injuring Palestinians. The Israeli military has escalated its premeditated murders, extrajudicial executions, and judicial killings in opposition to Palestinian civilians via direct focusing on with snipers and drones in numerous areas of the Gaza Strip, along with aerial and artillery bombardment of residential areas, Euro-Med Monitor stated. …

The Israeli military is utilizing small killer drones fitted with machine weapons and missiles… that are extremely cell and versatile, i.e. best for short-term operations. … These drones have killed dozens of civilians, confirmed Euro-Med Monitor, by firing automated machine weapons mounted beneath the plane at random gatherings or by capturing straight at individuals.

The Backside Line

There are only a few impartial accounts that corroborate allegations that the IDF used drones to lure individuals into their sights with the sounds of infants in misery. The declare is much like frequent city legends and rumors, together with one lodged by the IDF in opposition to Hamas in December 2023.

These info alone usually are not sufficient to disprove the truth of those occasions, nevertheless, and claims that the IDF doesn’t have expertise able to performing these duties are misguided.


Fowl of Prey. Directed by Elbit Techniques, 2024. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCfv79C_-I0.

Sales space, William, and Hazem Balousha. “Ambushes and Booby Traps: Hamas Techniques Stir Confusion, Worry, Hazard.” Washington Put up, 7 Jan. 2024. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/12/22/hamas-booby-traps-gaza/.

Carroll, Evan. “Do Israeli Quadcopters Play Sounds to Lure Folks out of Their Properties?” Skeptics Stack Trade, 17 Apr. 2024, https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/56904.

Israeli Military Withdraws from Gaza Refugee Camp, Forsaking Our bodies, Path of Destruction. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israeli-army-withdraws-from-gaza-refugee-camp-leaving-behind-bodies-trail-of-destruction/3195189. Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

“Israeli Drones Lure Palestinians with Crying Kids Recordings Then Shoot Them.” Center East Eye, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/disturbing-recordings-crying-infants-played-israeli-quadcopters-lure-gaza-residents-shooting. Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

“Maha Hussaini.” Center East Eye, https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/maha-hussaini. Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

Monitor, Euro-Med Human Rights. “Gaza: Israel Systematically Makes use of Quadcopters to Kill Palestinians from a Shut Distance.” Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, https://euromedmonitor.org/en/article/6166/Gaza. Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

New State-of-the-Artwork UAS to Be Launched by Elbit Techniques at Singapore Airshow 2024. https://elbitsystems.com/pr-new/new-state-of-the-art-uas-to-be-launched-by-elbit-systems-at-singapore-airshow-2024/. Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

Sebouai, Lilia, et al. “‘Drone Snipers’ Firing at Targets round Gaza Hospitals, Says Trapped British Physician.” The Telegraph, 13 Nov. 2023. www.telegraph.co.uk, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/armed-drones-israel-hamas-war-gaza-hospitals-gunshots/.

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