Fact Check: Hamas Militants Did NOT Burn Down Tel Aviv Using 150 Missiles In October 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Hamas Militants Did NOT Burn Down Tel Aviv Using 150 Missiles In October 2023 Not Israel

Did Hamas burn down Tel Aviv by firing 150 missiles at the coastal city in central Israel on October 31, 2023? No, that's not true: While Hamas did state that it launched 150 rockets at Tel Aviv on October 7, 2023, in response to an Israeli airstrike in Gaza that destroyed a high-rise building with over 100 apartments, the footage circulating on social media to support this assertion depicts fires in Argentina, not Israel.

On October 31, 2023, a 1.21-minute video (archived here) on TikTok showed a modern city with a significant fire at its periphery, accompanied by thick black smoke rising into the sky. In the background, a woman's voice, amid loud sirens, resembling a television anchorwoman reporting breaking news in Arabic, asserted that the fire resulted from Hamas rockets striking Tel Aviv.

The two headlines in the frame, featuring red and white bars (translated from Arabic into English by Lead Stories staff) state:

Hamas burns down Tel Aviv with 150 missiles.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Tel Aviv 1.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Nov 16 10:39:21 2023 UTC)

A search for the phrase "Tel Aviv burned down AND Hamas shoots 150 Rockets," conducted by Lead Stories on November 16, 2023, (archived here) using Google News' index of thousands of credible news sites did not reveal any factual reports that any part of Tel Aviv burned down due to rockets from Hamas militants.

Although a Google Lens image search by Lead Stories on the same date (archived here) revealed numerous posts backing the claim with thousands of views on platforms like Facebook, a Yandex image search (archived here) found posts with identical images and videos, all asserting that the fire actually occurred in Argentina. One report by News Summed Up (archived here) displayed the same still image of the substantial fire in a residential neighborhood in Argentina, dated October 11, 2023.

Global News, a Canadian television network, further corroborated the information in a video caption on its YouTube channel, confirming the occurrence of a wildfire in Argentina on October 11, 2023, that was attributed to a runaway campfire and an intense heat wave.

Meanwhile, according to Tourist Israel, a prominent travel blog, "private tours" continue to be available in Tel Aviv, adhering strictly to government regulations. DIY Tel Aviv, a widely consulted city guide, asserts that Tel Aviv remains generally secure within Israel but that due to the conflict, travelers may find themselves seeking refuge in public shelters within the city when rockets are fired from Gaza.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory to Israel and the Palestinian territories on October 14, 2023, warning against travel to Gaza, but urging citizens to "reconsider travel" to Israel and the West Bank, citing "terrorism and civil unrest."

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  Jamal Halaby

Jamal Halaby is a fact-checker, who has been working with Lead Stories for nearly two years, helping bring the truth and factual information to the organization's global audience. With extensive background in investigative journalism and content writing and editing in Arabic and English, Jamal uses that experience to expose a burgeoning market of misinformation and disinformation. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Associated Press and several other reputable international news organizations. He has a passion for empirical analysis and discerning the veracity of the news.

Read more about or contact Jamal Halaby

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