A minute-long video clip that shows a man who has held a woman hostage shot down by the police is circulating online. As per social media claims, the man is an ISIS terrorist who was apprehended in Spain. Alt News has received verification requests for the video on its WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160). It has also been shared by a few Twitter users.

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The video was also shared last year in August by several Twitter and Facebook.

(Warning: Distressing content.)

Akash RSS was among those who amplified the claim.

Akash RSS is ‘Akash Soni’. In a 2017 report, Alt News had found that he was running the popular disinformation news website Coverage Times. Another report published in June 2018 revealed that he was part of the group behind the misinformation and propaganda Facebook page ‘BJP All India’. Soni was also found to be behind the targeted harassment of journalist Ravish Kumar through a WhatsApp group.

Alt News has received several requests to fact-check this on WhatsApp (+917600011160) and on our official Android application.

Fact-check

Alt News performed a keyframe analysis and a subsequent reverse image on Google using InVid, a video analysis tool. We found that Vimeo user ‘Prensamerica Internacional’ had uploaded the same video six years ago. As per the video description, the kidnapper was Héctor Duarte and the incident took place in Venezuela.

Using this as clue Alt News performed a keyword search on Google and found that this incident is known as ‘1998 Cúa hostage crisis’. It took place in Cúa, a city located in the Miranda State of Venezuela.

Another keyword search using the Spanish phrase ‘Crisis de rehenes de Cúa 1998’ (translates to ‘1998 Cúa hostage crisis’ in English) on YouTube led us to the clip aired by Venevisión, a Venezuelan-based TV channel. A longer clip was uploaded by YouTube channel NotiVideosHeinnermix which has close to 20 lakh views. This video was uploaded in 2011.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Iván Simonovis, the police chief who was the in-charge of the rescue operation. “He [Simonovis] created the country’s first SWAT team, the Brigada de Acciones Especiales. In 1998 BAE acquired an international profile when one of its snipers shot dead a gunman who’d taken a woman hostage in the town of Cúa, 40 miles from Caracas,” reads the article published shared in 2019.

The video has been doing the rounds on social media at least since 2017 with false claims. Back then Boomlive and The Qunit had verified the clip.

Thus the social media claim that the video shows an ISIS terrorist in Spain is false. The incident shows a scene from a robbery that took place 23 years ago in Venezuela.

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About the Author

🙏 Blessed to have worked as a fact-checking journalist from November 2019 to February 2023.