‘Hamas’ Halloween costumes spark controversy in Northern Ireland

The photo shows a man dressed as a Hamas militant at a public event.—X/File
The photo shows a man dressed as a Hamas militant at a public event.—X/File

An image circulating on social media, depicting a man dressed as a Hamas terrorist at a Halloween celebration in Londonderry, may have been generated by artificial intelligence (AI), Northern Irish police said on Thursday.

The conflict has been going on in Gaza for the last 27 days. According to Israeli officials, it began after the October 7 attacks when Hamas fighters attacked border Israeli towns, killing 1,400 people and abducting more than 240 others.

Since then, Israel has repeatedly bombed the Palestinian territory and sent ground troops, with the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza saying 9,061 people were killed, including 3,760 children.

The image in question shows a man in Londonderry’s Guildhall Square wearing combat gear wearing a Palestinian flag badge, a balaclava and a headband bearing the word “Hamas” in Arabic, while holding a toy weapon.

However, despite a public appeal for witnesses and a review of security camera footage, the individual could not be identified.

Acting Chief Constable John Boucher of the Police Service of Northern Ireland noted during a Policing Board meeting that there is a “suggestion… that it may also have been some kind of artificial intelligence image that was presented and disseminated Is. ”

He expressed doubt on the authenticity of the photo.

The local police chief, Nigel Goddard, said, “We have not received any reports of seeing this person dressed like this in Guildhall Square, or any other images online.”

He emphasized that although the intention of the image is unclear, it serves as a reminder that not everything found online can be taken at face value.

According to organisers, the four-day event in Londonderry is billed as Europe’s largest Halloween celebration and was attended by more than 100,000 people.

The image in question depicted someone dressed as a Hamas militant, and uncertainty over its authenticity led to inquiries by local police, which suggested it may have been generated using artificial intelligence technology.

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