The war in Israel has led to a stream of misinformation, with politicians, popular figures, and online media channels sharing baseless content and misleading claims only days into the conflict.
On Saturday morning, the armed wing of Hamas launched thousands of rockets at Israel and reportedly dispatched fighters by both land and sea during a widespread operation it named “Al-Aqsa Flood,” in reference to the revered holy site in disputed East Jerusalem. Following the attack, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country was now “at war”.
As the fighting continues, videos claiming to show the course of the battle have flooded online, such as one clip on Twitter suggesting Hamas had taken out Israeli helicopters from the ground.
A post on X (formerly Twitter) by user @Khang566565, posted on October 9, 2023, viewed 134,200 times, stated “Hamas Shot down Isreal’s war Helicopter in Ghaza. Palestine 🇵🇸 will be free ♥️ #Israel #Hamas #Ghaza #savas #طوفان_الأقصى #حماس #FreePalestine #الأهلي_الاتحاد“
The video shows what appears to be two helicopters being shot down over the countryside by surface-to-air missiles.
Since Saturday, Israel’s military has carried out air strikes against Hamas in Gaza. In an update at 11 a.m. local time on Tuesday, the Israeli Defense Forces said the Israeli military had struck 1,352 Hamas targets, with more than 4,500 rockets fired from Gaza.
Israeli officials have said that its helicopters have begun striking in Lebanon, with other videos circulating of what has appeared to be an Israeli-operated Apache helicopter striking Hamas militants.
The clip shared on X of what’s claimed to be Hamas firing back at Israeli helicopters is, however, completely bogus.
The original footage was found by reverse image searching frames from the video. It revealed that the clip is a recording from the video game series Arma, posted as a YouTube Short on October 3, 2023, four days before Hamas’ attack on Saturday.
While the video posted on October 3 contains no reference to Israel or Hamas, the reverse image searches also showed that the clip was reuploaded on a number of occasions to YouTube with descriptions linking it to the conflict. Many of those reuploads have since been taken down.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 900 people in Israel and over 700 people in Gaza have been killed in the violence, according to Reuters and the Associated Press, with thousands more injured on both sides.
The video does not show Hamas shooting down Israeli war helicopters. It is footage taken from a video game posted online four days before the Hamas attacks in Israel on Saturday, October 7.
FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Check team
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