A video showing people covered in shrouds lying on ground is viral on social media with a false claim that suggests that Palestinians are faking casualties amid renewed attacks by Israel after the recent escalation of tensions between the countries.
Israeli airstrikes, which began earlier this month, have claimed close to 200 Palestinian lives, including that of children, in Gaza.
However, we found that the video, which dates back to 2013, was from Egypt where students the Al-Azhar University staged a protest against the security forces after former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's government was overthrown. We also found that this wasn’t the first time the same video had been shared out of context.
The viral video was shared with a caption that read, “This was how Palestinian terrorist Hamas tried to show the world, through TV cameras, “the cruelty of Israelis” in killing the “innocent people of Gaza”. Entire drama got exposed when the people lying down started scratching after being bitten by ants on the ground.”
The same caption was used by several users on Facebook and Twitter.
Another caption that has been shared with the viral video reads, “When you're a dead Palestinian martyr but your nose keeps itching”.
The claim was also sent to us on our WhatsApp tipline.
WHAT WE FOUND
Using the InVID WeVerify Google Chrome extension, we extracted some keyframes from the video and ran a reverse image search.
In the search results, we found a longer version of the viral video that was uploaded on YouTube on 28 October 2013 on the channel of Al-Badil, an Egyptian news outlet.
The title of the video when translated from Arabic said, “A representative show of the bodies inside Al-Azhar University”.
The caption of the video went on to say that it was shot during a protest where “A number of students at the Al-Azhar University organized a mass demonstration in front of the college administration building. The students chanted slogans against the army and the police.”
Taking a cue from the caption, we looked for news reports of protests held at the Al-Azhar University and found news reports have talked about the protests in detail.
A report published in an Egyptian news website Al-Ahram on 26 October 2013 said, "Students at Al-Azhar University in Cairo's Nasr City district staged what they called "anti-coup" demonstrations on campus Saturday as tensions rise between them and security forces."
The protests began after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by the armed forces. The Muslim Brotherhood, of which he was a part, staged multiple protests against the security forces that lead to several injuries and arrests.
Earlier that year, on 14 August 2013, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed in Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square while they were protesting.
Al-Badil also posted other videos from the protests.
While going through some of the search results, we also came across several posts linked to the viral video. We found that the video was previously shared with different contexts.
The same video was shared in 2014 an American conservative website called Conservative Post. The now-deleted story was titled, "Gaza ‘Corpses’ Caught Moving When They Forget Cameras Are On Them."
The video was again shared in 2016 by a website called “Inquisitr” with a similar claim. In 2016-2017, the video was shared as “actors faking death in the aftermath of a Russian attack in Syria”.
Fact-checking organisation Snopes had previously debunked claims around this video in 2018.
Evidently, an old video from a protest in Egypt's Cairo was shared with a false claim that it showed Palestinians "faking" their deaths amid the recent Israeli airstrikes.
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