Fact Check: Egyptian Army Did NOT Deploy Near Rafah Crossing When Israel Launched Airstrikes On Border City

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Egyptian Army Did NOT Deploy Near Rafah Crossing When Israel Launched Airstrikes On Border City Old Images

Did the Egyptian army deploy to the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip when Israel launched a military operation against the small town on the Egyptian border? No, that's not true: The footage of Egyptian soldiers at the Rafah border crossing, shown in a video used to support online claims that war is about to break out between Egypt and Israel, is old. It was filmed on October 20, 2023, coinciding with Israel's preparations to allow the flow of humanitarian aid from El-Arish, Egypt, through the Rafah crossing to the Gaza Strip, which was torn apart by the conflict between Hamas and Israel that erupted on October 7, 2023.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on February 12, 2024, under a text overlay (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) that read:

Urgent: Hordes of Egyptian tanks arrive at Rafah border.

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

Rafah 1.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Feb 14 10:16:40 2024 UTC)

At the 0:02 mark, a young boy inquires in classical Arabic (as translated): "What is this sound, Dad?" referring to the tank rumbling in the background of suspenseful music. The answer comes at 0:07: "This is the sound of war, son."

A Google Lens reverse image search (archived here) of the footage, which shows a few Egyptian military vehicles and dozens of soldiers outside the Rafah crossing, turned up identical videos and pictures taken on October 20, 2023. One of them is a post on Instagram (archived here) by the Egyptian TV channel Alwatan-Live on October 20, 2023. The caption says (as translated) that the Egyptian army arrived at the border with Gaza to help organize the flow of humanitarian aid to the coastal strip on the Mediterranean Sea.

Rafah Deployment.jpg

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Feb 14 15:52:40 2024 UTC)

Another video (archived here) posted on TikTok on February 13, 2024, also banging the drums of war, claimed that Egypt had transported heavy artillery, including missiles, to its border with Gaza. Footage from Summary, an Egyptian YouTube channel that provides regional analysis, shows an unidentified host claiming that Cairo is abandoning its historic peace treaty with Israel, known as the Camp David Accords (archived here), signed in 1979. A text overlay says (as translated): "Tearing up the Camp David Accords and moving Egyptian missiles to protect the Salah al-Din axis from being invaded by the (Zionist) entity."

The Salah al-Din Axis mentioned in the video, also known as the Philadelphia Axis, is a 14-kilometer (-mile) stretch that separates Egypt from Gaza (archived here). The Camp David Accords impose numerical and qualitative limitations on the deployment of forces on both sides of the border. Israel controlled the Philadelphia Axis as part of its jurisdiction until it withdrew from Gaza and handed it over to the Palestinian Authority in 2005.

A search of "تحريك الصواريخ المصرية لحماية محور صلاح الدين من اجتياح الكيان," Arabic for "moving Egyptian missiles to protect the Salah al-Din axis from being invaded by the entity" (archived here), on the Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) (archived here), the mouthpiece of the presidential palace, did not yield any recent or relevant results.

  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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