A young man from the Gaza Strip has spoken of his shock after being falsely accused of being one of theIS militants involved in the Paris attacks on Friday, which killed over 130 people.
Sami Abu Rus, a journalism student at Al-Aqsa University, told Ma’an that he was shocked after seeing his image posted online by Islamic State media groups praising him as one of the “lions” who attacked Paris.
Abu Rus, who resides in al-Nuseirat refugee camp, said he has never left the Gaza Strip and only found out that his photo had been used after being told by friends.
He initially dismissed it as a joke, before his photo was also published by a site affiliated with IS.
The young man said his family was outraged that he was identified as one of the attackers and immediately denied the accusations and condemned the attacks, saying they had no relation to Islam.
“My family and I condemn terrorist attacks against civilians”, Abu Rus said.
One of the photos of Abu Rus appeared in the Egyptian al-Wattan newspaper and other Egyptian media, while IS-affiliated media published two of his photos.
He said he believes they were taken from his Facebook page, or another social media group.
The photos which appeared online did not say the name or nationality of the attackers, only that they had been identified as “lions of the Islamic State, perpetrators of the Paris attacks.”
Several similar photos falsely accusing innocent people of committing the Paris massacre have also appeared online, including a picture of a Sikh man posted in Spanish media sit La Razon which shows him wearing a suicide explosives belt and holding a Quran.
The image had been photo-shopped from the original, which in fact showed the Canadian citizen taking a selfie with his iPad in front of the mirror.