update deskIsrael at War

Viral story of Jordanian killed for posting about ‘genocide in Gaza’ is ‘fake news,’ per Hamburg police

“Please do not spread messages with such content,” the German police department wrote.

Screen capture of an Al Jazeera news blog update claiming Mohammad Barakat was killed for his Gaza activism.
Screen capture of an Al Jazeera news blog update claiming Mohammad Barakat was killed for his Gaza activism.

“A Jordanian student in Germany, Mohammad Barakat, 21, was shot dead in Hamburg,” per a story that circulated on social media with a photo purporting to show the murder victim. “The shooting was ideologically motivated in response to Mohammad’s social media posts about the ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

“This is the direct outcome of state-sponsored racism,” per the post by Shahd Hammouri, a lecturer at Kent Law School in Canterbury, England. In another post, she added, “The news is confirmed by multiple sources. Initial police investigations indicate a hate crime. Also confirmed by multiple Jordanian students studying in Germany.”

“There is currently a report circulating on social media that a Jordanian student has been murdered in Hamburg. We are not aware of this fact, nor are there any indications of a homicide that can be linked to this,” the Hamburg Police wrote. “We currently assume that this is fake news. Please do not spread messages with such content.”

Hammouri has shared other posts that she claims confirm the murder, including a post from the Jordanian foreign affairs ministry. The latter post referred to “the death of a Jordanian citizen,” without claiming the individual was murdered.

Still, the University of Kent professor referred to the “official statement by the Jordanian Foreign Office, which is in direct contravention to the statement by the Hamburg police.”

When she claimed that “multiple sources” had confirmed the killing, a community note on X stated: “Mentioned ‘multiple sources’ only copy and pasted the same rumor from each other. There is also no police investigation—the police in Hamburg assume it is fake news.”

Al Jazeera also posted Hammouri’s claim on its news blog. “Legal and human rights activists in Germany say the killing of Mohammad Barakat, a 21-year-old student in Hamburg, is related to his activism—both online and offline—on the war in Gaza,” it wrote.

James Jackson, an independent journalist, wrote that “Hamburg prosecutors confirmed to me that they found a body on Dec. 19 and have only now realized that this was 21-year-old Jordanian student Mohammad Barakat.”

“A suicide is suspected with ‘no evidence of third party fault,’” Jackson wrote. “Police will make a statement later.”

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