By: Siri Christiansen
November 21 2023
Misattributed footage that claimed to show Israeli soldiers entering a Hamas tunnel in Gaza became viral after it was shared by an Israeli researcher and media commentator.
A video claiming to show Israeli soldiers inside a Hamas tunnel in Gaza was actually filmed inside a Swedish Cold War bunker.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on November 13, Spanish organization Action and Communication on the Middle East (ACOM) shared a 4:48 minute long video from a tunnel with the caption: “This is one of more than 300 tunnels discovered by the Israeli army under the soil of Gaza. They are built by Hamas to infiltrate Israel, hide its weapons arsenals, hide the terrorists themselves. It is estimated that there is an excavated length greater than that of the Madrid Metro."
The Israeli researcher and media commentator Edy Cohen, who has been sharing unverified infomation amid the Israel-Gaza conflict, shared the same footage one day later and wrote, “Our soldiers are inside Hamas tunnels.” The X post went viral and has been seen eight million times as of November 20.
The New York Times visual investigations reporter Aric Toler was the first to trace the footage to an abandoned Cold War bunker in Sweden. With the help of OSINT community hub Project Owl, Tooler compared the “Hamas tunnel footage” with a YouTube video from an old Swedish transmitter facility posted by urban explorers on October 10, 2022.
While these are two different videos, it is clear from the comparison that they were shot at the same location.
Source: Twitter/YouTube (Screenshots).
By conducting a reverse image search on screenshots from the video shared on X, Logically Facts found that the earliest trace of the video is from November 9, when an Arabic-speaking TikTok account with just 1,525 followers published the video with an Arabic text that has been translated as: “The creativity of Gaza's tunnels, hundreds of meters underground.” It has amassed 668.5k likes as of November 20. This video is of significantly higher quality than later posts, which enabled Logically Facts to take more precise screenshots of signs and text that appear in the video, and compare them with the YouTube footage from the Swedish bunker, further proving that the two videos were shot in the same place.
Source: X/YouTube (Screenshots).
Users make unverified claim debunked footage shared by Israeli military sources
Since Toler’s X post debunking the footage became viral, several users on X and TikTok have used his investigation to claim that Israel first uploaded the misattributed footage as part of a misinformation campaign.
“Israeli military sources published a video claiming that Israeli terrorists have entered Hamas tunnels under Shifa hospital, but in fact, this video is from a tourist attraction on Skipsulman island in Sweden,” one TikTok post claims.
“Israel publishes a video that it says is a tour of its forces in one of the tunnels in Gaza,” an X user writes as the caption to a video comparing the YouTube bunker footage with the “Hammas tunnel footage.”
Logically Facts has not found any evidence that the footage was uploaded by an Israeli official or Israel’s Defence Force.
Multiple social media accounts have shared footage and claimed it shows Israel’s forces in a Hamas tunnel in Gaza. The footage is from a Cold War bunker in Sweden. We have therefore marked this claim as false.