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Fact Check: Did Hamas backers climb Israeli border wall for "Day of Jihad"?

Former Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has called for protests around the world this week, encouraging the application of jihad—a word that has been widely used by the group and other Islamist militants in the context of holy war.

Mashaal released a video statement to Reuters calling on others to “Deliver a message through, the squares and the streets, a message of anger, that we are with Palestine.”

Following his statement, a video appeared online suggesting it had provoked Lebanese Hamas supporters to scale Israel’s border wall “in answers to calls for a Global Day of Jihad.”

On October 7, Hamas led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack on Israel in history. Israel subsequently launched its heaviest ever airstrikes on Gaza. As of Friday, more than 1,300 people had been killed in Israel, the Associated Press reported. At least 1,799 people had been killed in Gaza, according to authorities there, the AP said, citing the Gaza Health Ministry.

As Israel appeared to be preparing for a ground offensive, roughly 1.1 million people in northern Gaza were ordered to evacuate as the Israel-Hamas fighting entered its seventh day Friday. Hamas urged residents to stay put.

The Claim

A post on X, formerly Twitter, by self-described “content curator/creator” Wide Awake Media, posted on October 13, 2023, and viewed 183,000 times, included a video of people climbing what looked like a border wall. Others in the crowd could be seen carrying flags, including a Palestinian flag.

The tweet read: “Lebanese Hamas supporters are reportedly climbing Israel’s border wall, in answer to calls for a ‘Global Day of Jihad’ by former Hamas leader, Khalid Mashal [sic].”

The Facts

The video has nothing to do with the recent conflict in Israel nor the comments made by Mashaal this week.

The footage was recorded during a protest at a border wall between Lebanon and Israel on May 15, 2021, when supporters gathered near the Lebanese border of village of Odaisseh as part of a series of global protests triggered by conflict in Gaza, according to Al-Jazeera.

Some of those who had gathered began climbing the border wall, as footage recorded by CNN shows. The video shared on X, claiming to be of “Lebanese Hamas supporters,” was posted on the platform on May 16, 2021.

In the clip on X, in the middle of the group on the wall, is one protester wearing a dark jacket, white shirt, a white and blue scarf, cream trousers and white sneakers.

The same person can be seen in photos shot by Reuters and in the CNN report at about 1:17—the protester appears at the bottom of the crowd “attempting to scale the 25-foot tall concrete walls.”

The protest was eventually broken up by Lebanese forces.

There has been a steady stream of misinformation shared online since Hamas’ attack on Israel. Video game recordings have been misleadingly repurposed and falsely attributed as combat footage, while politicians and others have suggested Hamas has a presence south of the U.S. border.

The Ruling

False.

The clip shared on Twitter is not of “Lebanese Hamas supporters” responding to calls this week for a “global jihad.”

The video was recorded during a protest in 2021 at the border between Lebanon and Israel. Multiple media outlets covered the event. Cross-referencing the clip on X with news footage of the protest shows they were recorded at the same time.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Check team

False: The claim is demonstrably false. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be false. Read more about our ratings.

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