Old video of Al-Quds Brigades’ tunnel falsely linked to Hamas amid conflict

By: Rahul Adhikari
November 3 2023

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Old video of Al-Quds Brigades’ tunnel falsely linked to Hamas amid conflict

Social media posts claiming Hamas has granted access to a Russia Today (RT) journalist to visit the tunnel network in Gaza. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral video actually dates back to 2021 and doesn’t show Hamas recently granting access to Russia Today journalists.

Claim ID a88ec2f4

The war between Israel and Hamas that started on October 7 has killed at least 9,061 people in Palestine and over 1,400 in Israel. According to recent reports, Israeli troops have surrounded Gaza City and warned residents to evacuate the Shati refugee camp, which borders Gaza City’s center. Hamas’s vast network of underground tunnels in Gaza recently made headlines after several tunnel entrances were neutralized after being uncovered during Israeli ground operations. Reports also quoted Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as recently saying that they have “unique solutions” for demolishing the tunnels.

What is the claim?

A video circulating on social media claims that Hamas granted access to a Russia Today (RT) journalist to visit the tunnel network in Gaza. The viral video is a news report in which a journalist descends into a tunnel using a rope. He walks through the tunnel and speaks with armed militants.

Several users shared the video on X (formerly Twitter) and wrote, “As Israel begins targeting Gaza Terror Tunnel Network, Hamas Terror groups give access to Russia Today journalist to visit the Tunnel Network. This is the RT on-ground report from underneath Gaza. This is the Gaza Metro.” One such post has gained over 4,200 views and 57 likes. Archived versions of the viral posts can be found here, here, and here.

Indian journalist Aditya Raj Kaul initially shared the video on X on October 31, 2023, garnering four million views so far. However, Kaul later corrected himself in the comments, stating that the video was two years old. The claim has continued to spread despite this, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) weekly ‘Organiser’ also shared the video on its official X account on November 1, making the same claim. 

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

However, the video is old and shows an RT journalist visiting the Al-Quds Brigades’ tunnel systems in Gaza in 2021.

What did we find?

The language being spoken in the viral video is Arabic, and an English translation of the conversation between the journalist and the militants has also been added to the video. We reviewed the video carefully and noted that the English subtitles suggested that the journalist visited an Islamic Jihad militant base in Gaza. One of the militants identifies themselves as Al-Quds Brigades, according to the subtitles. 

Using Google Lens, we searched for the Arabic text in the viral video. We found a German news report dated June 19, 2021, featuring the viral video. The report was published by RT Deutsch with the title "Exclusive: RT correspondent visits Quds Force tunnel systems in Gaza (translated from German).” 

The report stated that an RT correspondent visited the Al-Quds Brigades’ tunnel systems in Gaza to find out to what extent the tunnel systems are still operational after the last war. 

Screenshot of the translated version of the RT Deutsch news article. (Source: RT Deutsch) 

The video was also shared from the X account of RT Arabic on June 14, 2021. The caption of the video read, when translated from Arabic to English, “Exclusive: Artie (RT) team enters the Saraya al-Quds tunnels under the land of Gaza and monitors their depth and restoration operations after the last war.” We also translated the Arabic text in the attached video, and it stated the same as the caption. 

Screenshot of the post featuring the original video, shared by RT Arabic on June 14, 2020. (Source: RT Arabic) 

The evidence clearly shows that the viral video was actually recorded in 2021, long before the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, when an RT journalist reportedly visited the Al-Quds Brigades’ tunnel network in Gaza. 

Al-Quds Brigades

The Al-Quds Brigades is the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second-largest group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas. PIJ is a Sunni Islamist Palestinian militant organization dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel. It was founded in 1981 in Gaza by Dr. Fathi Abd al-Aziz Shaqaqi and Shayk Abd al-Aziz Awda, both of whom were originally members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. While a distinct armed organization, the Quds Brigades also collaborates with Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades.

The verdict

An old video of an RT journalist visiting the militant organization Al-Quds Brigades’ tunnel systems in Gaza was shared as a Hamas tunnel system against the backdrop of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The viral video has been available online since 2021. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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