Footage of explosion near Ukrainian drone operator falsely linked to Israel-Hamas conflict

By: Arron Williams
November 9 2023

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Footage of explosion near Ukrainian drone operator falsely linked to Israel-Hamas conflict

Source: TikTok


The Verdict False

The video does not show an explosion near an Israeli soldier in a "hidden tunnel" during a Hamas attack. It shows a Ukrainian drone operator.

Claim ID 75fe7f0f


The Israel-Hamas conflict has entered its fourth week. As reported by the Associated Press on 7 November, the Palestinian death toll has exceeded 10,000, and over 1,400 people have been killed in Israel.

Since the war's onset on October 7, misinformation has proliferated on social media, with videos being misattributed to current events. One such video shared on TikTok depicts a soldier in what appears to be a dugout or trench before an explosion occurs behind the soldier. The soldier remains unharmed. Another video, viewed by nearly 3 million people, is captioned, "An Israeli soldier in a hidden tunnel during Hamas attack." Several other social media posts also make the claim that this video features an Israeli soldier.

In fact

However, the video does not actually show an Israeli soldier and has been misattributed to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

A reverse image search revealed that the same footage is associated with claims that the soldier in the video is Ukrainian. A more detailed keyword search, focusing on Ukraine, revealed that the video was posted on X (formerly Twitter) by the Kyiv Post at an earlier date. The caption for the video reads: This is what true Ukrainian courage means. Despite a Russian strike coming within mere centimeters of the Ukrainian defender's head, he remains completely composed and continues to hold his position.”

Notably, this post from the Kyiv Post does not reference the Israel-Palestine conflict. Furthermore, the Kyiv Post's tweet was published on October 20, while the viral TikTok video, which claims it shows an Israeli soldier, was published on October 21. Therefore, the claim that it depicts a Ukrainian soldier predates the claim that it shows an Israeli soldier.

Similarly, British newspaper The Telegraph also shared the same footage on YouTube and TikTok with claims that the footage is of a Ukranian drone operator. The Telegraph credits its source to the Reddit page UkraineWarVideoReport. The same video can also be found on this Reddit page and identifies the soldier as Ukrainian.

Through these secondary sources, we were able to trace the original video to the official Facebook and Instagram handles of the 92nd Assault Brigade "Ivan Sirko" of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The description states that the video is from a unit of drone operators called “Achilles”. The video was first uploaded on Facebook on October 18.

Another clue that the soldier in the video is likely Ukrainian is that the uniform does not match the usual uniforms the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) wears. According to the official Israeli military website, Draft IDF, the IDF's military fatigues for ground forces, are a solid olive green. The uniforms do not have the woodland camouflage like the soldier seen in the video; however, the standard Ukranian military uniform uses woodland camouflage. 

The verdict

The video shows a Ukranian drone operator and not an Israeli soldier. The video has been misattributed to the Israel-Hamas. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before