Unrelated video from Azerbaijan shared as Israeli officials captured by Hamas

By: Rajini KG
October 9 2023

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Unrelated video from Azerbaijan shared as Israeli officials captured by Hamas

Screenshots of viral videos circulating online. (Source: X/TikTok/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

A video of Azerbaijan State Security Service detaining three men is being falsely linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Claim ID 67faf57a

On October 7, 2023, Hamas fighters from Gaza launched a surprise attack on Israel, firing hundreds of rockets and killing more than 700 people in one of the largest attacks in the history of the years-long conflict between Israel and Palestine. In retaliation, Israel attacked buildings, mosques, and homes of Hamas officials in Gaza, killing more than 400 people. Israel has declared war, and the death toll has crossed 1,000 as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas.

What is the claim?

An X (formerly Twitter) user shared a video of military officials escorting handcuffed men from cars with the caption, "LATEST: Several high-profile Israeli Generals captured by Hamas fighters." The video was shared with hashtags like #Israel, #IsraelUnderAttack, and #Palestine and had 89,400 views and more than 450 likes while writing this story. The archive of such posts can be found here, here, and here. The same video is being shared on Facebook and TikTok.

Screenshots of viral videos circulating online. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is from Azerbaijan, not from Israel, and the individuals are not Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Generals.

What did we find?

A reverse image search keyframes from the video led us to the YouTube channel of the Armenian news outlet SLAQ News, which published the same video on October 5, 2023. It was captioned as "Bako Sahakyan, Arkadi Ghukasyan and Davit Ishkhanyan were detained in Azerbaijan for four months (translated from Armenian).” The description reads that the three were arrested by the State Security Service of Azerbaijan on October 5 and charged with "financing terrorism" and "participating in the activities of illegal armed organizations."

The letters  "DTX" are visible on the uniforms of military personnel in the viral video, and the same can be seen in this longer video as well. Our research showed us that DTX refers to Dövlət Təhlükəsizliyi Xidməti, the State Security Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Comparison of viral video and YouTube video. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshots)

We found the video of these arrests on the official YouTube channel of DTX, published on October 5, 2023. The title states, "Persons organizing the activities of illegal armed groups in Karabakh were arrested (translated from Azerbaijani)." At the timestamp of 2:27 minutes, we can see the viral clip. This also shows that the video was online before the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023.

Screenshot of DTX YouTube video. (Source:YouTube/Screenshot)

According to the State Security Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan, three people, — Arkadi Arshaviri Ghukasyan, Bako Sahaki Sahakyan, and Davit Rubeni Ishkhanyan — were detained as part of an investigation into illegal armed forces operating in the Karabakh region on suspicion of organizing armed groups, in violation of Republic of Azerbaijan law. They were acting as President and Interim President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Local News websites AZERTAC and APA also reported on the incident. 

The verdict

This video is from October 5. It shows the arrest of three men, who recently held positions in the government of the self-declared Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is unrelated to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

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