Fact Check: Hamas Militants Did NOT Shoot Down Israeli Military Aircraft In Gaza Strip

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Hamas Militants Did NOT Shoot Down Israeli Military Aircraft In Gaza Strip Movie Set

Did Hamas militants shoot down an Israeli Air Force (IAF) plane in the Gaza Strip? No, that's not true: The footage used on social media to make the claim displays a greyish military aircraft, almost intact, atop the roof of a dilapidated one-story brick and cement building in China's Lenghu, also known as the oil town. The desolate location is near Qinghai Province in the northwest, where the 2022 Chinese thriller "Nine-Story Demon Tower" was filmed.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on November 7, 2023. The text overlay (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

A Zionist plane was downed in the Gaza Strip; and the Hebrew press kept the lid on it.

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

Israeli warplane downed.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Sat Nov 11 10:00:14 2023 UTC)

In the video, indiscernible Arabic shouts can be heard in the background. The area around the dilapidated building is gray with coarse sand and gravel, distinguishing it from Gaza's soft, sandy terrain. A Google Earth search showed a matching arid landscape in Lenghu, China's "oil town."

On November 11, 2023, a Yandex image search (archived here) by Lead Stories found the image posted on the Chinese news site Sohu (archived here), featuring the aircraft and the building with distinct Chinese signage, including an English sign that read "off limits."

A Google Lens image search (archived here) by Lead Stories on the same date led to an article in the Chinese People's Daily, which stated that Lenghu is a town located in Mangya city, within the Haixi Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Qinghai Province.

A tourism story on the Chinese Gutx.ae news site confirmed that the warplane was on the rooftop of a building in Lenghu, also known as the oil town, a desert-like area near Qinghai Province in China. This information is supported by travel blogs and travel advisers that include the image among pictures of the "Nine-story Demon Tower" movie set. An article, post.smzdm (archived here) noted that the oil town served as the filming location for the 2022 Chinese drama thriller "Nine-Story Demon Tower." The movie, presented in Chinese and Mandarin, revolves around Detective Dee's investigation of a series of supernatural events at the Tangs' tower.

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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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