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Here’s The Story Behind This Powerful Image Of A Disabled Man At A Protest In Gaza

Thousands have shared images and cartoons of a man falsely identified as 29-year-old Fadi Abu Salah.

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Images of a man in a wheelchair throwing rocks during a protest in Gaza have been shared thousands of times, after he was mistakenly identified as one of the people killed in the demonstrations along the Israel–Gaza border Monday.

The man was falsely identified as Fadi Abu Salah, also 29, on Monday in a tweet, after Salah's death was reported by a local news agency, during protests in Gaza that coincided with the US opening its embassy in Israel in Jerusalem.

AFP photographer Mahmud Hams identified the man as 29-year-old Saber al-Ashqar, not Salah, and said he had photographed him at a protest on May 11.

GAZA STRIP - A Palestinian hurls rocks during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip, as Palestinians demonstrate for the right to return to their historic homeland in what is now Israel. 📷 @MahmudHams #AFP https://t.co/P8Wv8zUzRb

His friend Walid Mahmoud Rouk shared this tribute and confirmed Salah's death to BuzzFeed News.

His feet were amputated years ago by Israeli artillery shelling, then he lived his life for a several years with the rest of his body. Today, the Israeli sniper killed the half which lived from his body . Fadi Abu Salah A Dear neighbor and Friend . R.I.P

Rouk told BuzzFeed News that he had known Salah for years and that the two had been neighbors. He explained that in 2008 Salah was wounded during another protest and had lost both of his feet.

Eight children were killed, including an 8-month-old baby.

At the funeral of an 8-month-old baby in Gaza. Her mother left her home and went to the protest yesterday. The girl started crying uncontrollably, so her uncle brought her to her mother, and she died from tear gas. https://t.co/kE6M1dQH4J

The massive protests are part of the Great Return March, with thousands of Palestinians marching to the border each week.

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

The protests are marking the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, known as the Day of the Catastrophe, when thousands of Palestinians were displaced by the creation of Israel in 1948. The protesters have been met with violence from Israeli soldiers, with the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces condemned internationally.

Adding to the tension, yesterday Israeli and American leaders celebrated the highly contentious relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. More protests are expected today.

Hams, the AFP photographer who took the photo being massively shared, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he understood Ashqar had not been killed yesterday.

He said he met Ashqar last Friday, when he was at the demonstration at the border – the latest of several protests he had attended. There were so many people at the border, Hams said, that he hadn't seen him again.

But people have continued to share the images of Ashqar.

His legs were taken away by a an Israeli rocket, and his soul was taken away today by Israeli bullets, along with 50 other Gazans. These people are fighting for their life, and for a right granted to them by international law: the right of #return! #FadiAbuSalah #Gaza #Palestine https://t.co/4p26BCHbgN

Fadi Abu Salah, 29 years old was killed toldsy by the Israeli army in #Palestine #PrayForGaza #Nakba70

Fadi Abu Salah was 29 years old, first they took his land, then they took his legs, today they took his life. #JerusalemEmbassy #Jerusalem https://t.co/e7PBe2VFP1

Palestinian Fadi Abu Salah, who lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike in 2008, killed near #Gaza border while protesting against opening of US embassy in #Jerusalem. #Nakba70 #القدس_عاصمه_فلسطين_الابديه #مسيره_العوده_الكبري https://t.co/oMMKC6inDb

The false name and images were also shared internationally.

Il a survécu à un premier attentat terroriste 🇮🇱 mais il avait perdu ses jambes. Cette fois, il n’y pas survécu. Le résistant & courageux Fadi Abu Salah vient d’être abattu. Le bilan s’élève à 40 tués. Aucun dirigeant occidental n’a condamné pour le moment #Gaza #Jérusalem https://t.co/21rIQ4UtEP

People who supported the protests also started sharing cartoons and sketches.

Facebook: alhusseinbarros

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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