Fact checks about countries

FALSE: Video shows Israel’s situation on May 15, 2021

Rappler
FALSE: Video shows Israel’s situation on May 15, 2021
Copies of the video footage existed online as early as 2011. Old copies of the video identify it as the raid of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, by US and Iraqi troops on October 1, 2004.
At a glance
  • Claim: A video posted on Facebook on Saturday, May 15, of armed forces taking over a mosque is an update on the current situation in Israel.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Copies of the video footage existed online as early as 2011. Old copies of the video identify it as the raid of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, by United States and Iraqi troops on October 1, 2004. 
  • Why we fact-checked this: This was flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking tool. This video has been viewed 141,000 times on Facebook and has 3,000 reactions and 1,300 comments, as of writing. 
Complete details

A video on Facebook, published on Saturday, May 15, on the page “New Viral Channel,” shows armed forces taking over a mosque. The title, “Israel Update today Let’s continue to pray bf9r (sic) safety in Israel,” alleges that the video shows the current situation in Israel.

This was flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking tool. This video has been viewed 141,000 times on Facebook and has 3,000 reactions and 1,300 comments, as of writing. 

This claim is false. 

The video does not depict recent events in Israel, as copies of the same video have been published online since 2011. These earlier postings of the video identify it as footage of Iraqi and American troops raiding the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, on October 1, 2004.

Searching on YouTube for the text at the end of the video, which said, “Task Force Viper & the 36th Commando Bn,” returns a similar video on the channel “FUNKER530 – Veteran Community & Combat Footage.” This video was uploaded on August 29, 2020, before tensions began to rise on the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestine in April 2021. 

The video description said, “The raid on the Golden Mosque took place on October 1, 2004 as part of the Battle for Samarra, also known as Operation Baton Rouge.”

A Google search for “battle for Samarra Golden Mosque raid” with a timeframe limited to 2004 to 2015 also returns a similar video on the website Military.com. This video was uploaded on July 22, 2011, describing US and Iraqi Special Forces seizing the Golden Mosque in Samarra, Iraq.

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The battle for Samarra or “Operation Baton Rouge” indeed took place on October 1, 2004, according to reports by CNN and The Guardian. The US government said the attack marked the start of a campaign to “take back” Iraq cities where insurgents held power. More than 2,000 Iraqi troops and 3,000 soldiers from the US Army’s First Infantry Division took part in the offensive. 

The “AP Archive” YouTube channel also has footage of Samarra on October 1, 2004, including a shot of the Golden Mosque from afar.

Similar claims about this video in relation to the hostilities between Palestine and Israel have also been proven false by fact-checking organizations like Alt News and The Quint.

Palestine began firing rockets on May 10, after what it said were Israelis’ rights abuses against Palestinians on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. US President Joe Biden has pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reduce tensions, though Netanyahu said earlier he could not set a timeframe for an end to the hostilities. – Vernise Tantuco/Rappler.com

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