Old, unrelated interview of Iraqi politician linked to ongoing Israel-Hamas war

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
October 30 2023

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Old, unrelated interview of Iraqi politician linked to ongoing Israel-Hamas war

Screenshots of the viral claim that a video shows an Israeli woman freed from Hamas captivity recounting her experiences. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video, available online since 2017, is reportedly an interview with Iraqi politician Vian Dakhil about ISIS atrocities against Yazidi women.

Claim ID ab902ebb

(Trigger Warning: This story contains descriptions of distressing visuals and mentions of violence. Reader discretion is advised.)

On October 23, 2023, Hamas militants released two hostages, Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, who had been residing in the Kibbutz Nir Oz, which was seized by Hamas on October 7. This marked the second hostage release by Hamas following their cross-border attack on Israeli territory on October 7. On October 20, two American nationals, Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie, were also released with the assistance of mediation by Qatar. Following the release, there were multiple reports about hostages describing the experience of being kidnapped by Hamas as "hell."

What's the claim?

Amid this, social media users are circulating a video, claiming that it shows an Israeli woman recounting the ordeal of being kidnapped by Hamas.

In the video, a woman speaks in Arabic during what seems to be an interview on a news channel. An English transcript is included alongside the woman's speech, offering explicit and disturbing details. For instance, it mentions the case of a woman confined in a cellar for three days without access to food or any supplies, and it was alleged that her one-year-old child was cooked and fed to her. Another account in the video involves a girl who was allegedly raped to death in front of her father and sisters.

Some other users connected it to the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, claiming that "unlike some reports that hostages were well-treated by Hamas, the viral video tells a different story."

Multiple X users shared the video in Hindi with a caption that read, "Three days later, Hamas terrorists gave me food. After I ate, he told me that the meat belonged to the same child who was snatched from my hands. Such demons and their supporters do not have the right to live (translated to English)." One such post by an X user, P.N.Rai, who has a track record of spreading mis/disinformation online, has garnered 38.4 thousand views so far. The archived versions can be found here, here, and here.

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

This video, however, dates back to 2017 and reportedly shows Iraqi politician Vian Dakhil recounting incidents involving ISIS terrorists and Yazidi women.

What we found

Upon conducting a reverse image search on keyframes from the viral video, we found a news article by the Independent dating back to 2017. The report carried a 36-second-long video of the same woman speaking, matching the 0:06 to 0:26 timestamp of the viral video, and identified her as Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi MP from the Yazidi community.

According to the November 2017 Independent article, Dakhil claimed that ISIS made a mother consume her baby unknowingly and sexually assaulted a ten-year-old girl to death in front of her family. The article stated that Dakhil is a prominent Yazidi politician who has played a crucial role in shedding light on the atrocities committed by ISIS against her people. The report also noted that Dakhil had made these claims during an interview with the Egyptian channel eXtra News. It credited the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) with translating the video in the report. 

The viral video also has a logo on the top left corner that says "Translated by MEMRI TV.'' 

Screenshot of the viral video featuring the "Translated by MEMRI TV" logo in the upper left corner (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

We also found that MEMRI had uploaded a 1-minute 49-second-long video similar to the viral video on June 27, 2017. Notably, the viral video has been edited and cropped out from this footage posted by MEMRI, starting from the 40-second mark.

We also located the interview, published by eXtra News on its YouTube channel in June 2017.

An extended version of the interview published on YouTube in June 2017. (Source: eXtra News/YouTube)

The same month, Dakhil posted the complete interview on her official Facebook page - an extended, unedited edition of the interview shared by eXtra News.

The verdict
This video has been available online since 2017 and features an interview with Iraqi MP Vian Dakhil, reportedly discussing the "ordeal of people kidnapped by ISIS." The statements in the video or the video itself have no connection to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Therefore, we are marking the claim as false.

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