Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Hamas Taking 40 Israeli Soldiers As Hostages

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Hamas Taking 40 Israeli Soldiers As Hostages 2022 Training

Does this photo show Hamas taking 40 Israeli soldiers as hostages in the Hamas-Israel conflict in the fall of 2023? No, that's not true: The photo is from 2022 and shows Hamas fighters training at a facility in the Gaza Strip with people in Israel Defense Forces uniforms. However, they are not real Israeli soldiers but instead are part of the training exercise.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published on TikTok by @bouzayenkais82 on October 7, 2023, with a caption (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) that read:

40 Israeli soldiers were taken as hostages now

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

Screenshot 2023-11-11 at 14.17.04.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Sat Nov 11 12:42:01 2023 UTC)

The claim on TikTok was widely shared following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, such as here, here and here.

Lead Stories conducted a reverse image search on Google Lens (archived here) of the photo in the claim. A version of the image was published by the Palestinian news website and network The Palestinian Information Center, alongside additional photos from the same event, on December 28, 2022, under the title "Joint maneuvers for the resistance factions in Gaza."

Screenshot 2023-11-11 at 14.34.26.png

(Source: The Palestinian Information Center screenshot taken on Sat Nov 11 13:35 2023 UTC)

The widely circulated photo on TikTok, seemingly depicting Hamas taking 40 Israeli soldiers as hostages, instead captures a training exercise in 2022 by Hamas fighters using people dressed in Israeli military uniforms.

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  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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