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Separating fact from fake news/videos in Hamas-Israel war

Israeli artillery fires near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel. Picture: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters

Israeli artillery fires near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel. Picture: Violeta Santos Moura/Reuters

Published Oct 13, 2023


As the Hamas-Israel war intensifies, many have taken to social media in a bid to spread awareness, whether they find themselves supporting Palestine or supporting Israel.

While nothing is wrong with spreading awareness, users on social media are urged to verify and make sure they are not circulating misinformation.

Among the fabrications, users have shared false claims that a top Israeli commander had been kidnapped, 40 babies were beheaded, and generally pushed outdated and unrelated videos with inaccurate English captions.

We separate the fake news and share the facts.

The beheading of children and sexual assault of hostages

Claim: In headlines that rocked the world and inflamed the war, unverified claims about the beheading of Israeli children and babies and the sexual assault of hostages by the Palestinian armed group have gone viral in the days after Saturday’s attack.

Fact: Not only has Hamas issued a statement rejecting allegations that it committed crimes against women and children, but the White House has retracted President Joe Biden’s claim that he saw pictures of beheaded children following Hamas’s deadly attack on Israel. A White House spokesperson clarified that US officials and the president have not seen pictures or confirmed such reports independently. In terms of sexual assault of hostages, this claim could not be verified, and Hamas said the claim was “lies”.

Kidnapping of an Israeli general

Claim: Rumours that a top general in the Israeli army, Nimrod Aloni, was captured by Hamas militants have been doing the rounds on social media.

Fact: A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces says the above is not true. Additionally, Aloni was seen at a meeting of top Israeli military officials.

US President Joe Biden will send $8 billion in military aid to Israel

Claim: A memo shows that Biden announced he was sending $8 billion in military aid to Israel.

Fact: The image of a memo that was shared online was fabricated, the White House confirmed earlier this week.

Social media users shared an altered image that appears to show Biden authorising Secretary of State Antony Blinken to direct up to $8 billion in aid. But according to White House spokesperson Sean Savett, the widely shared memo is fake.

The real memo called for up to $400 million for Ukraine in its war with invading Russian forces.

Videos showing Russian President Vladimir Putin warning the US to “stay away” from the war

Claim: Videos showing Russian President Vladimir Putin “warning” the US to stay away from the Hamas-Israel war was widely shared. Some videos would also say that Russia will help Palestine.

Fact: The videos were not deepfakes but instead were old clips of Putin speaking about the Russia-Ukraine war and had incorrect and false captions and subtitles. It’s also worth noting that neither Palestine nor Israel were even mentioned in the original videos.