Exposed: Hamas’s propaganda team

Are these individuals independent journalists or are they associated with Hamas?

 Plestia Alaqad (photo credit: screenshot)
Plestia Alaqad
(photo credit: screenshot)

Around five dozen individuals, some associated with Hamas and collectively boasting more than 100 million social media followers, have been waging a propaganda campaign against Israel on various social media platforms since the start of the Swords of Iron war on October 7.

These influencers, who identify as independent journalists, are often seen sporting blue press vests and helmets. They have also reportedly found refuge in Al-Shifa hospital, which the IDF recently disclosed serves as a Hamas command and control center, providing them with access to electricity and the internet.

While these individuals may appear to be speaking independently, they effectively act as the mouthpiece for the terrorist organization. Furthermore, they frequently feature in interviews and are quoted in mainstream media, causing their lies to spread.

The Jerusalem Post has located some of these influencers through inside and open sources. It plans to reveal their identities in the coming weeks.

Here are some examples:

Plestia Alaqad (Instagram handle @byplestia) has more than a million followers and calls herself an independent journalist but spread the lie on Instagram and in an interview with British TV that Israel bombed the Al-Ahli Hospital and killed more than 1,000 people. 

"Yesterday, a complete massacre happened," she said of the missile, which was quickly proven to be a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket and not connected to Israel at all. "Around 1,000 civilians were killed and martyred."

Fewer than 50 people were killed in the incident, according to international independent investigations.

"It's a genocide, literally a genocide, not a massacre," she told Britain's GB News. She threw out several numbers of people dead, including 10 journalists at the time, which the station noted could not be verified. 

In her posts, she has not provided any explanation for the commencement of the airstrikes on Gaza - namely, the October 7 massacre.

Another influential figure is Bisan Ouda (known as @wizard_bisan1 on Instagram), who presents herself as a filmmaker hailing from Gaza, Palestine, with a substantial following numbering in the hundreds of thousands. She maintains an active presence on platforms such as TikTok and YouTube, as well. Notably, her posts receive endorsements from well-known figures associated with antisemitism and conspiracy theories, including Shaun King, who called on his 5 million Instagram followers to "please listen to @wizard_bisan1 and follow her. She’s on the ground in Gaza now. And needs to be a household name."

 Shaun King shares a post by Bisan Ouda on Instagram (credit: screenshot)
Shaun King shares a post by Bisan Ouda on Instagram (credit: screenshot)

Following the October 7 massacre, she posted a note in Arabic on social media:

"For every action, there is a reaction. This means: What was expected after 75 years of occupation and 17 years of siege? … What was expected of us? … Would the families of the prisoners remain silent?"

Ouda has been quoted as "an ambassador of goodwill" on ABC News, and she has been interviewed and legitimized on the BBC, to cite a couple of examples.

Like Alaqad, Ouda also helped spread the lie about Al-Ahli Hospital: "800 people were killed in one airstrike in Gaza," she said in a video. "The Israeli army was not willing to evacuate them, and they killed them inside the hospital." She also said that the humanitarian corridor "was a trap" and that Israel was killing people who fled to the south. 

Many media watchdogs and Israeli activists have written about Hind Khoudary (@hindkhoudary), a self-proscribed journalist. HonestReporting recently revealed that Khoudary, who has been quoted by the Washington Post, Associated Press, and others, turned a group of Palestinian peace activists over to Hamas, which led to their arrest.

"In 2020, activists from the Gaza Youth Committee took part in a Zoom conference with a group of Israeli campaigners in which they discussed their daily lives and expressed their hopes for better Israeli and Palestinian leadership," HonestReporting said. "Khoudary informed Hamas of the meeting, and all six members of the Gaza Youth Committee who participated, including its founder Rami Aman, were arrested on charges of 'treason' and 'normalization' of relations with the Jewish state."

'It wasn't journalism'

Among the people arrested was Manar al-Sharif, who gave an interview to the Post in December 2021. She spent three months in a women’s prison in solitary confinement. 

Sharif had moved to Gaza from Egypt in 2017 to study journalism, but had told the Post at the time that she dropped out after only a few months, appalled by what she called the “Hamas propaganda” that was infused in the school. She said the university was full of Islamism and that they used the school to recruit members.

“It wasn’t professional and it wasn’t journalism,” Sharif said.

Another example is Abdallah Alattar, who filled his Telegram channel from October 7 with pictures and videos of Hamas infiltrating Israel, including several that look like original footage. His profile image shows him with a press vest and a camera.

In one post he writes, “Watch: Shows Al-Qassam fighters killing and capturing occupation officers and soldiers at the Erez military site in the northern Gaza Strip.” In another, “Zionists killed by Palestinian resistance bullets in the Sderot settlement.”

There is also Ahmed Hijazi (@ahmedhijazee2), with a substantial following of 2 million. On October 7, he shared a video of what appears to be an armed Hamas group returning in a jeep from the attack in southern Israel, accompanied by the caption, "These are the men of Gaza," and a heart emoji. The post received more than 200,000 likes.

A source in the know told the Post that a high percentage of these so-called journalists have been discovered to be working for Hamas and given amenities to do their jobs, such as a car and a driver, internet and shelter in Al-Shifa. 

Their work is also being monitored by the terrorist organization to ensure they share Hamas’s version of events in Gaza. In addition, they serve as a megaphone for Hamas, such as calling on the people not to head down south as Israel requested to ensure their safety but instead claiming the request was trap and they would be killed on the way.

Hamas reportedly asked its followers to stay in northern Gaza so it can use them as human shields. 

This is a developing story.