Entering its fifth day on October 11, the Israel-Palestine conflict all but escalated into a full-blown war with the Israeli military confirming that dozens of its fighter jets had struck more than 200 targets overnight in a neighbourhood of Gaza City even as Hamas fighters rampaged through parts of southern Israel, in the deadliest Palestinian attack in Israel’s history. The combined toll on both sides crossed 3,500, according to reports.

Several videos related to the recent conflict between Palestine and Israel have been circulating on social media. Alt News has already debunked five such claims in a report. We will examine several more such claims in this story.

Claim I

A video showing five children being held prisoner in cages allegedly by Hamas militants is currently viral on social media. A tweet by X (formerly Twitter) user @OCanonist gained 2 million views. “What purpose does this serve? Are they Israeli hostages?”, asked the user.

Indian Right Wing propaganda outlet Sudarshan News also tweeted the video with the same claim. (Archive)

Fact Check

The user later posted a subsequent tweet with a YouTube link that said, “Correction: They are Palestinian children being held in cages by Israeli law enforcement/army officials.”

While the YouTube video has now been taken down, an archive of the YouTube webpage shows that the video had been uploaded in January 2020 by a YouTube channel named Palestine News.

However, the cameraperson in the viral video can be heard laughing in the background. An X user posted, “Old video, father found his children playing inside chicken cages ..so he locked it to take a funny video / Fake video”. This seems to be the more plausible scenario since the cameraperson in the viral video can be heard laughing in the background.

The viral video contains a TikTok username @user6903068251281. According to Hebrew fact-checking outlet FakeReporter, the original TikTok video had been erased. However, the video had been uploaded at least five days prior to October 10 (around October 4/5). This would mean that the video was uploaded before the war between Hamas and Israel. The tweet below contains screenshots from the TikTok video.

While the original context of the viral video cannot be concretely verified, it can be conclusively proved that the viral video predates the Hamas-Israel conflict and thus is unrelated.

Claim II

A video allegedly showing Israel attempting to create fake footage of death is viral on social media. (Archive)

The aforementioned tweet garnered almost 17000 likes and over 8000 retweets.

Fact Check

Alt News found that the viral video was shot during the filming of a short film titled, “Empty Place” by Awni Eshtaiwe. In fact, Eshtaiwe himself shared a fact-check of the video as an Instagram story.

According to Eshtaiwe’s statement to the fact-checking outlet, it is a behind-the-scenes shot of his film about the prisoner Ahmad Manasra, a minor who was initially sentenced to 12 years in prison for being with his cousin Hassan Manasra, who allegedly stabbed two Israeli settlers near the illegal settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem in 2015. The sentence was later reduced to nine years. In the clip, the child who portrayed the character of Ahmad Manasra can be seen.

The short film is available on YouTube. The scene that is being filmed in the viral video starts can be seen at the 1:10 minute mark of the YouTube video. The actor who plays Manasra and the clothes he is wearing match the viral video.

Claim III

A clip of a Hamas spokesperson thanking Iran for providing them with weapons, money and other equipment is viral. “…They gave us missiles to destroy Zionist fortresses, and helped us with anti-tank missiles!”, X user @DrEliDavid quoted the spokesperson as saying. “Looks like the $6 billion Biden gave Iran is being well spent”, the user added. (Archive)

The user’s X account has since been made private.

The Israel Ambassador to the United Nations also tweeted the same video and wrote,”If you had any doubt about who is funding and supporting this barbaric terror attack: here’s a video of Hamas terrorists thanking none other than IRAN for the weapons, money and rockets that helped the terrorists to slaughter and kidnap Israelis. The Ayatollah regime is the head of the octopus. Don’t look away.”. (Archive)

Fact Check

The reader must note that the clip is almost six-year old. The full version of the video can be found on YouTube titled, “بالصوت والصورة حماس تشكر إيران الصفوية المجوسية لوقوفها معهم ودعمهم ،هل تظنون انهم يدعمونكم حبا بكم؟” (Translation: In both words and actions, Hamas thanks Shiite Iran for standing by them and providing support. Do you believe they support you out of genuine goodwill?). The video had been uploaded in December 2017.

So, it is clear that the video is not related to the ongoing violence.

Claim IV

A video apparently showing two helicopters belonging to the Israeli army being shot down in viral on social media. (Archive)

The aforementioned tweet garnered 13.5K likes and 1.2 million views.

Fact Check

Alt News discovered that the viral visuals have been taken from a game called ARMA 3. ARMA 3 is an open-world, realism-based, military tactical shooter video game.

The original video is on YouTube titled, “Two combat helicopters shot down by anti aircraft defense – Arma” and contains the hashtag #arma3.

The video had been uploaded by a gaming channel named Kazinkka Warrior which regularly posts similar videos from ARMA.

In the past, Alt News has debunked similar videos taken from Arma 3 that have circulated falsely as real representations of military conflicts, most notably Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One can read them here and another here.

Claim V

This is another clip of Hamas fighters apparently shooting down Israeli war helicopters is viral on social media. (Archive)

Fact Check

These visuals, too, in reality, are a play-through of ARMA 3. We found a similar simulation of helicopters being shot down on YouTube titled, “KA-50 Battle helicopter shot down by FIM-92F Advanced Stinger Missile l St.77 MilSim ARMA3 #shorts”. Although this is not the exact same viral video, the background settings, the man firing the missile and the helicopters are the same.

Claim 6

A video apparently showing a US ship carrying F-16 fighter jets reaching Israel’s west coast is viral on social media. (Archive)

The aforementioned tweet has garnered 1.4 million views, over 5,000 likes and close to 1,000 retweets.

Fact Check

Upon performing an image-reverse search of a keyframe from the viral video, we came across several articles reporting on US Navy ships narrowly avoiding a head-on collision in San Diego Bay in December 2022. According to a Independent report on the same, a video captured by San Diego Webcam shows the guided-missile destroyer USS Momsen entering the harbour as the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry exits. The ships appear to be moving directly towards each other before the Momsen makes a hard turn to the left to avoid hitting the larger ship.

The official handle of San Diego Web Cam also tweeted the viral video on November 30, 2022.

Claim VII

An image of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sending his son to serve as a soldier is viral on social media. Indian Right Wing influencer @MeghUpdates tweeted the image and garnered 35000 likes and over 6000 retweets in two hours. (Archive)

Fact Check

Upon a reverse-image search, we found an article by The Jerusalem Post containing the viral image, dated December 1, 2014. The report was titled, “Shine your shoes! Netanyahu’s youngest son begins army service”.

At the time, Avner Netanyahu, Netanyahu’s youngest son, had just begun his three-year mandatory military service, enlisting in the IDF’s Combat Intelligence Collection Corps. Avner was accompanied by his parents as he arrived at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill.

A Times of Israel report, also dated December 1, 2014, carried the same image captioned, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, seen with their son Avner, at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill on December 01, 2014. (Photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO)”.

Claim VIII

A graphic video of a man, claimed to be a Hamas terrorist extracting an alleged Israeli citizen’s heart from his body and eating it is viral on the internet. (Archive)

Fact Check

We noticed that users pointed out that the video was actually from Mexico. Upon a keyword search, we came across a Daily Mail article from 2022 about Mexican Cartels that force their new members to kill rivals and eat their hearts. The article contains an screengrab from the viral video that is captioned, “Cannibalism became part of the Jalisco initiation in around 2015, with new recruits forced to eat raw human heart at the cartel’s ‘terror schools’. Pictured: A CJNG devours a heart in 2020”.

CJNG or the Jalisco New Generation Cartel is a Mexican organized crime syndicate based in Jalisco which is headed by Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, one of the world’s most-wanted drug lords. We also found a Spanish report by El Sol de la Laguna dated August 24, 2020, that reported on this incident.

Claim IX

A graphic viral video of a young boy being beheaded at the back of a pickup truck is being linked with the Hamas-Israel conflict. Indian Right Wing influencer @MrSinha_ tweeted the video and wrote, “Allah Hu Akbar & then beheaded the innocent kid..They’re not humans, their faith makes them worse than animals…So called “secular-liberals” are supporting these p!gs? (Watch it at your own risk)” alongside hashtags like #IsraelUnderAttack #IslamIsTheProblem
#HamasTerrorists. (Archive)

We will refrain from sharing the video here, given its graphic nature.

Fact Check

Several users pointed out in the comments that the video is old and that the child is from Syria. We found an article dated July, 2016, which stated that the video showed members of an American-backed rebel group, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki in Syria, beheading a young child in a grisly execution video. There are reportedly two clips from the incident. One shows five militants surrounding the boy. In the second, one of them stands over him on the truck and cuts the boy’s head off with a dull knife, raising it over his head. The second clip is currently viral with users linking it to the Hamas-Israel conflict.

We also found an article reporting the same incident by media outlet Ohtuleht. Their report dated July 22, 2016 consists of screengrabs from the viral video. According to this report, a pre-pubescent Abdallah Issa was killed by rebels during the fighting. The rebels thought he was a member of the Palestinian Al-Quds Brigade, which fights on the side of the Syrian government forces. However, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Abdallah had no connection with the Palestinian militants. He was a poor child of a poor family living in a refugee camp.

Claim X

A clip of Hamas terrorists paragliding into Israel to carry out “door-to-door to massacre, innocent civilians, rape and murder women and children” is viral on social media. (Archive)

Fact Check

If one notices closely, a TikTok username @eslamre1 is visible on the left side of the video. We found an archived version of the original upload on TikTok by the user. The date of upload, as seen on the archived webpage, is September 27. The video thus predates the Hamas-Israel conflict and is unrelated to the ongoing conflict.

Claim XI

In another viral clip that is being linked to the Hamas-Israel conflict, Palestinians are apparently seen carrying a small boy’s body and chanting religious praises. However, as sirens start blaring in the background, everybody, including the boy, runs away. Users are sharing the clip sarcastically implying that Palestine protesters are trying to gain sympathy in the ongoing conflict with Israel by faking casualties. On X, a user named @rs_rajender tweeted the clip and linked it to the ongoing war. Their tweet garnered over 2,000 likes and almost 2,000 retweets. (Archive)

Fact Check

Readers should take note that Alt News had already debunked this video in May 2021. The clip went viral with the same claim in the backdrop of the escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict after Israeli forces tried to evict eight Palestinian families and settle Jews in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.

Alt News had found that X user @bassmadj had uploaded this video on March 24, 2020. According to her, a group of Jordanian youths staged a mock funeral during the pandemic as a ruse to get out of the house during the lock down. The video shows them running away upon hearing the sound of sirens.

Abu Dhabi-based news portal 24.ae and Arabic-news website Youm7.had also uploaded the video in 2020 as Jordan.

Hence, an old and unrelated video from Jordan is viral on social media, with users linking it to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The video was also viral with the same claim in May 2021, in a similar situation of heightened tensions between Israel and Palestine.

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About the Author

Student of Economics at Presidency University. Interested in misinformation.