By: Anurag Baruah
October 18 2023
Facebook posts of a news segment by TIME8 falsely claiming that Indian soldiers are in Israel to fight against Hamas. (Source: Screenshots/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)
Indian Army has not deployed troops to Israel. Further, a clip in the video purporting to show Indian troops shows IDF troops.
At least 1,400 people in Israel and 2,778 people in Gaza have been killed, and many more wounded on both sides in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, latest reports say. The conflict that started on October 7 and quickly escalated into a full-blown war, with Israel strongly retaliating to a sudden attack by Hamas militants, has also led to social media getting flooded with false information about the conflict. Logically Facts found that accounts from India have contributed significantly to the misinformation related to the war on social media.
What is the claim?
The Facebook pages of an Assamese news portal, TIME8 and TIME8 Live published a video news report on October 15, claiming that 900 Indian Army soldiers have been recently deployed in Israel to fight against Hamas militants. The news anchor can be heard stating in Assamese that Indian troops are getting ready to fight Hamas at the Lebanon border and India is closely monitoring the situation in the latter country. Graphics played out on the video as part of the report also says the same. The report, that consists of several clips, claims to show Indian soldiers in action in Israel in a particular video clip of some tanks in a dusty setting played on loop. The video report has garnered more than 385,000 and 69,000 views so far on the respective pages. Archived versions can be seen here and here.
Two posts of a news segment by TIME8 falsely claimed that Indian soldiers are in Israel to fight against Hamas. (Source: Screenshots/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, no such deployment of the Indian Army has taken place, and the particular video clip actually shows the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) tanks in action during the ongoing conflict.
What did the Indian Army say?
We could not find any news reports about India or any other foreign country sending troops to Israel to support the country in its fight against Hamas.
Logically Facts reached out to Indian Army spokesperson Colonel Sudhir Chamoli, who told us that no such deployment has taken place. Chamoli said, “This is false, no such deployment has taken place. The only presence of Indian soldiers in the region has been as peacekeepers as part of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). This deployment was done a long time back, almost 30 years now, and has no connection to the recent Israel-Hamas war.”
900 Indian soldiers and UNIFIL
The claim made by TIME8 could have possibly emerged from a report published by The Times of India on October 11, with the headline, “With 900 deployed as peacekeepers, India watching Lebanon situation." The report talked about India closely monitoring the situation in southern Lebanon, with around 900 Indian soldiers stationed there as part of the UNIFIL. The report added that although no attacks were reported from the region where the Indian contingent is present, the UNIFIL has reported escalations in other deployment regions, with exchange of rockets and artillery fire between Israel and Lebanon.
The UNIFIL was created in March 1978 by the U.N. to maintain peace and security in Lebanon following Israel’s withdrawal after the Lebanese government protested before the U.N. Security Council. At present, UNIFIL is deployed along the 110-km ‘Blue Line,’ which has witnessed clashes between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in the past.
The UNIFIL issued statements on X on October 10, saying that their main goal was to help avoid conflict between Lebanon and Israel and requested both sides to de-escalate the situation. “Our main goal is to help avoid conflict between Lebanon and Israel, and any event that brings conflict closer is a concern. Our focus is on maintaining security and stability in the area,” a statement by UNIFIL said. According to the UNIFIL website, as of August 30, 2023, 9,994 peacekeepers from 49 countries are stationed as part of the UNIFIL, out of which 893 are Indian soldiers.
Clip of IDF falsely claimed be of Indian Army
A reverse image search on the clip led us to a post on X (formerly Twitter) carrying a longer and clearer version of the video. The October 15 post by Pierre Klochendler, a reporter at i24news, an Israel-based international 24-hour news television channel, stated that the video shows a location in southern Israel close to the Gaza Strip.
Screenshot of X post by Pierre Klochendler. (Source: Screenshot/X)
Logically Facts reached out to Klochendler, who has uploaded multiple such video clips showing the ongoing Israel-Hamas war on his X account, besides clips of him reporting for i24news from Israel. Klochendler confirmed to us that the clip in question was recently shot by him, and shows troops of the Home Front Command of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
The Indian Army has confirmed to Logically Facts that no deployment has taken place recently in Israel to fight against Hamas. Further, the video clip purportedly showing the Indian soldiers in Israel actually shows troops of the Home Front Command of the IDF. Therefore, we are marking the claim as false.