By: Annet Preethi Furtado
November 7 2023
Post on social media claiming that the video shows Palestinian children training with guns. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)
This old video, dating back to at least 2012, reportedly shows children being trained at an Al Qaeda terror camp.
What's the claim?
Amid allegations that Hamas is training children for defense in Gaza, a video has gone viral on social media. In this video, numerous children are observed firing pistols and rifles. The footage is being shared across various platforms, with captions suggesting that it depicts Palestinian children amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
This brief 42-second video depicts young children handling firearms. These youngsters, dressed in traditional shalwar kameez outfits, maintain a structured row as they fire pistols and rifles. At various points in the video, two flags are also visible in the background.
On X (formerly Twitter), a user shared the video with a sarcastic Hindi caption that translated as: "Israel is bombing and the innocent children of Palestine are playing cat-tip." One such X post had 46,700 views. Archived versions of the viral post can be accessed here and here.
Screenshots of the viral posts on X. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, this video is at least a decade old and reportedly originates from a training camp associated with the militant organisation Al Qaeda. Reports from 2012-2013 indicate that the camp's location was near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
What are the facts?
Upon conducting a reverse image search on the keyframes from the video, we found multiple media reports related to this footage.
In April 2013, India Today reported on the video featuring the same footage, with the faces of the children blurred to conceal their identities. In the broadcast, the anchor discussed how a group called the Turkistan Islamic Party, active in the Waziristan region on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, had claimed responsibility for the actions seen in the video.
Further, a correspondent explained that while there was not a lot of information on who was behind the video, it was originally uploaded on the Al Qaeda website and subsequently got leaked, ultimately surfacing in the public domain through the British video-sharing platform LiveLeak. A text report by India Today on the same video stated that it was titled "Little Commandos.”
A report published by HuffPost in April 2013 on the video stated that it was purportedly filmed in north Waziristan and showed young children firing weapons at an Al Qaeda terror camp. The report further noted that it was branded “Islam Awazi” - an organization identified as the Islamic Party of Turkistan. The report carried screengrabs of the viral video.
The Russian English-language news channel RT also covered the video in April 2013 and presented numerous screen captures from the footage.
We also found an earlier report, published by Mirror in November 2012, which stated that the video had been posted on a website affiliated with the terrorist organization Al Qaeda.
Visual cues in the video
In the viral video, beginning at the 0:08 timestamp and at various other points, men positioned behind the children are seen holding two flags: one black and the other blue.
Screenshots of the viral post. (Source: X/Screenshot)
By the 0:18 mark, the flags become visible. The black flag is recognizable as the flag of Al Qaeda, while the blue flag bears a strong resemblance to the flag affiliated with the Turkistan Islamic Party.
Image showing Al-Qaeda and Turkistan Islamic Party flags. (Source: Alamy/Screenshots)
While we could not independently verify when and where the video was shot, it dates back to more than a decade and is clearly unrelated to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
A video dating back to at least 2012, reportedly showing an Al Qaeda training camp, has been misrepresented as a video portraying Palestinian children amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.