By: Annet Preethi Furtado
December 5 2023
Screenshots of a video claiming to show Hamas executing hostages by throwing them off the roof of a building. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
The video reportedly depicts ISIS executing men accused of homosexuality in Iraq’s Fallujah and is at least eight years old.
(Trigger warning: This story and the video it cites depict violence. Logically Facts has refrained from including the distressing visuals.)
During the recent seven-day ceasefire amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Israeli government confirmed the release of 13 Israeli hostages on November 24, 2023. This brought the total number of freed civilians to 105, including 81 Israelis, 23 Thais, and one Filipino. As part of the arrangement, Israel released 210 Palestinian security prisoners, according to a report by the Times of Israel.
Israeli authorities also claimed that they had identified the body of one of the hostages captured by Hamas at the start of the conflict. Four other hostages – Eliyahu Margalit, Maya Goren, Ronen Engel, and Arye Zalmanovich – were also confirmed dead, according to Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesperson, as reported by Reuters.
What’s the claim?
Amid news of the death of the hostages, a viral video on social media allegedly depicts Hamas executing people by throwing them off the roof of a building. The 45-second video shows two people atop a four-story building, who push people off the top one by one.
The video was widely shared on platforms like X (formerly Twitter), with the caption: "Hamas executes people by throwing them off a building's roof." One such post on X has amassed around 16.9k views at the time of writing.
Screenshot of viral X posts. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Similarly, on Facebook, users have shared the video with the caption, "Here are your poor Palestinians. Hamas executes people by throwing them off a roof of a building!"
Screenshots of viral Facebook posts. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the video is not related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as claimed in the viral posts.
What's the truth?
A reverse image search of the video's keyframes reveals that the footage dates back to at least July 2015 and depicts ISIS executing men accused of homosexuality in Iraq’s Fallujah. It is not related to Palestine or Hamas.
On July 1, 2015, MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), a non-profit based in Washington, published a report headlined: "ISIS In Iraq Executes More Homosexuals By Casting Them From A Rooftop (Warning: Graphic Images)." The report states that on July 1, 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) media office in Iraq's Fallujah province published photos showing the execution of four men convicted of engaging in homosexual acts. Notably, one of the images in this report closely resembles the building structures seen in the viral video.
Lebanon Debate, a news website specializing in Lebanese affairs, and the British website Mirror also covered this 2015 incident, noting the victims were pushed off the roof of a building in Fallujah, Iraq, by ISIS militants.
The Lebanon Debate report stated that the victims were bound and blindfolded, then taken to the roof of a building and thrown off. It also reported that in contrast to usual ISIS practices, there were no onlookers, including civilians or members of the organization, present at the scene to witness the execution.
Visual cues in the video
We cross-referenced an image from the news report with a frame from the viral clip. An image in the Mirror article showed the same structure of the roof and similarly-styled windows, as those seen in the viral video. MEMRI and Lebanon Debate also carried this image.
In the image from the news article, a man is observed standing on the ground floor near a closed shutter of a shop. In the viral video, this individual becomes visible as he walks from one side of the frame to the other, starting at the 0:18-second mark. Notably, a parked car on the left side of the frame also becomes evident, matching the one in the viral video.
Comparison of an image from the Mirror report to the viral clip (Source: X/Mirror/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
While Logically Facts could not independently verify if the video shows ISIS men or if it is from Iraq, multiple reports confirm that the extremist group had shared these photos. Further, as they date back to at least July 2015, they cannot be related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The video, purportedly showing an ISIS execution in Fallujah, Iraq, has been incorrectly circulated as depicting Hamas executing hostages during the Israel-Hamas conflict. This claim is false, as the video is old and unrelated to Palestine or Hamas.