No, video does not show Israeli police officer strangling a Palestinian child

By: Rahul Adhikari
November 16 2023

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No, video does not show Israeli police officer strangling a Palestinian child

Social media posts claim that this video shows Israeli police strangling a Palestinian boy. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral video was captured in Sweden in 2015 and is unrelated to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Claim ID 5ae7ed15

Islamic militant organization Hamas's attack on Israeli territory on October 7 and the subsequent military onslaught by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of thousands. Since then, visuals from the conflict have been widely circulated on social media. Many of these videos and photos are old, misleading or unrelated to the ongoing conflict, thus paving the way for mis/disinformation.

What is the claim?

One such 45-second-long video has been widely shared on social media, claiming that it shows an Israeli police officer strangling a Palestinian child to death. The viral video shows a uniformed man holding down a young boy and a group of people circling him.

Several users have shared the post on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook. One such post on X had gained over 1,18,000 views and 1,700 likes at the time of writing. The caption shared with the post reads, “An Israeli police officer strangled a Palestinian child to death on Saturday during the protest at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.” Archived versions of the posts can be accessed here and here.

Screenshots of the viral posts on X. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, an old video, reportedly from Sweden, has been incorrectly linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

What did we find?

A reverse image search of keyframes from the viral clip led us to a YouTube video published by the Swedish media outlet Sydsvenskan on February 9, 2015. The title of this longer video, written in Swedish, reads, “Guard pounded nine-year-old's head on the ground.”

In the video, a boy is seen being held down by a uniformed man, crying and reciting the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith. We compared the viral clip to this video and concluded that they captured the same incident. We can see that the uniformed man is wearing the same badge, yellow uniform, and cap.

Comparison between the viral clip and the YouTube video. (Source: X/YouTube/Modified by Logically Facts)

What happened in 2015?

We also found a similar news article published by the French media organization France 24. According to this report, dated February 11, 2015, the video was captured in a train station in Malmö, Sweden, on February 6, 2015, where two private security guards violently detained a nine-year-old boy.

Other videos of the incident, captured by witnesses, show a security guard pushing the boy to the ground, sitting on him, and holding his hands over the boy’s mouth and face, who could be heard reciting the Shahada.

Screenshot of the news article published by France 24. (Source: France 24)

Police investigated the private guards as they were caught assaulting the boy on camera. They had, reportedly, detained the boy and his 12-year-old friend for traveling without tickets. 

British media outlet The Independent published a news article on February 12, 2015, reporting the same. The report noted that Linda Pleym, a spokeswoman for Skåne County police, had said that the guards were accused of assault.

Further, contrary to social media claims, the boy did not die becuase of the assault. A report by Radio Sweden dated February 9, 2015, noted that after the alleged assault, three police officers eventually arrived on scene, handcuffed the boy, and took him away.

Another report by Radio Sweden, dated February 11, noted that the boys, who had run away from their care home, had been driven back after the incident at the train station but went missing again days later. The report added that the two boys, nine and twelve years of age, had arrived in Sweden alone and had been housed in a care home as they awaited the result of their asylum applications. Reports said that the boy seen in the video was a Moroccan refugee.

The viral clip clearly shows an incident from 2015, in which some security guards can be seen assaulting a young boy. The video is unrelated to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The verdict

An old video, reportedly from Sweden, showing a security guard assaulting a young boy was shared as Israeli police killing a Palestinian child. The video has no relation to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. 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