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Old video falsely presented as ‘Iran’s attack on Israel’

In World
April 19, 2024

Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel on April 13 fuelled a flurry of misrepresented images and videos online including a clip that posts falsely claimed showed Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system during the assault. The clip has circulated in reports about an incident in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon since October 2023, shortly after the outbreak of the Gaza war.

The video — showing what appeared to be rockets exploding in the night sky — was shared in a Facebook reel on April 14.

“This is Israel’s Iron dome,” said the caption to the video which featured the logo of The Telegraph in its upper right-hand corner.

The post went on to quote remarks by Israel’s military spokesperson Daniel Hagari that “99 percent” of the “300 threats” launched by Iran were intercepted.

Tehran’s first direct assault on Israel — in retaliation for a deadly strike in Damascus earlier in April — followed months of violence across the region involving Iranian proxies who had said they acted in support of Palestinians in the war-battered Gaza Strip.

The attack sparked a wave of misinformation debunked by AFP here, here and here.

<span>Screenshot of false Facebook post, captured April 15, 2024</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/jdtpyAxtH0GgrfKbsn85tQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTk4Nw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/3917d0635a12eb9dbdd786446e3bfebd”><noscript><img alt=Screenshot of false Facebook post, captured April 15, 2024” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/jdtpyAxtH0GgrfKbsn85tQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTk4Nw–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/3917d0635a12eb9dbdd786446e3bfebd” class=”caas-img”>

Screenshot of false Facebook post, captured April 15, 2024

The clip was also shared alongside a similar claim elsewhere on Facebook as well as on social media platform X, TikTok and its Chinese version Douyin.

But a Google reverse image search found The Telegraph published the clip on YouTube on October 12, 2023 (archived link).

“Israel’s Iron Dome intercepts Hamas rockets in Ashkelon,” the clip’s title read.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the misrepresented clip (left) and the one published by The Telegraph in October 2023 (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the false post (left) and video published by The Telegraph in October 2023 (right)</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/XAYVXKejTvAI.srIAUK3Aw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTQ5NA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/7ed1869457572ccb57be7dd7c3c51b41″><noscript><img alt=Screenshot comparison of the false post (left) and video published by The Telegraph in October 2023 (right)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/XAYVXKejTvAI.srIAUK3Aw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTQ5NA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/7ed1869457572ccb57be7dd7c3c51b41″ class=”caas-img”>

Screenshot comparison of the false post (left) and video published by The Telegraph in October 2023 (right)

The Telegraph credited the clip to an account on X called Clash Reports, although multiple users shared it earlier here and here (archived links here, here and here).

Television broadcaster Sky News Arabia also published the clip on Facebook on the same day (archived link).

The clip surfaced after the outbreak of the war in Gaza triggered by an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas gunmen on October 7 that resulted in about 1,140 deaths, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel’s devastating retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,800 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

AFP could not verify the date the clip was filmed.

A visual analysis of the location in the clip found a similar-looking highway in Google Maps imagery of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon (archived link).

Below is a screenshot comparison of a frame from the clip (left) and a street in Ashkelon (right) with similar features highlighted:

<span>Screenshot comparison of a frame from the clip (left) and a street in Ashkelon (right) with similar features highlighted</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/dBUECUKNJ23TeG.z7q97Ig–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTMzOQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/807435e3c1984360c52ca37ea488e863″><noscript><img alt=Screenshot comparison of a frame from the clip (left) and a street in Ashkelon (right) with similar features highlighted” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/dBUECUKNJ23TeG.z7q97Ig–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTMzOQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/807435e3c1984360c52ca37ea488e863″ class=”caas-img”>

Screenshot comparison of a frame from the clip (left) and a street in Ashkelon (right) with similar features highlighted

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