Video does not show Hamas destroying Gaza church

By: John Faerseth
October 24 2023

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Video does not show Hamas destroying Gaza church

Source: X (Screenshot modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video is from 2017 and shows the destruction of a church in the Philippines. It is not connected to Gaza or the current Israel-Hamas war.

Claim ID d1f814e3


In a video recently published on X, armed men are seen tearing down a crucifix and toppling and kicking what appears to be a statue of Christ. The post attributes the destruction to the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas, writing, “#HamasTerrorists destroying a Baptist Church in #Gaza city and kicking the statue of Jesus, is this their fight to reclaim their land or is it Jihad against every other religion in this world, ask yourselves !!”

The video has been shared by more than 200 other users, including one using the logo of the news network CNN. 

Around 1,100 Palestinian Christians live in the Gaza Strip today, out of a population of 2.2 million. The majority are Greek Orthodox, but there are also Baptist and Catholic minorities.

In fact

A reverse image search of screenshots from the video showed that it was published by British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail in June 2017. According to the article, the video had originally been published by Amaq News Agency, a news outlet linked to the Islamic State (ISIS). The video was filmed in the Philippine city of Marawi and also shows the same men destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary and various religious objects, as well as tearing down a picture of Pope Francis. 

Marawi is located on the island of Mindanao and has seen clashes between the central Philippine government and various rebel groups, some of which have embraced Islamist objectives for several decades. Most Filipinos are Roman Catholic, with a Muslim minority of around 5 percent, who mostly reside on Mindanao.

Groups affiliated with ISIS established themselves on Mindanao in 2014-15. They drew on a pool of disgruntled ex-guerrillas, impoverished farmers, and frustrated youth, but also attracted foreign fighters. The ISIS-affiliated Maute Group seized parts of Marawi in May 2017 and battled the Philippine army for five months until the city was taken back in October. 

The Maute Group attacked St. Mary's Cathedral in Marawi on May 23, 2017. They destroyed religious artwork, set the cathedral on fire, and took a priest hostage, together with several worshipers and church workers. The video was filmed as propaganda during the seizure and desecration of the church. Due to extensive damage, the church was later scheduled for demolition.

The Christian population in Gaza is integrated into the wider Palestinian population and has been subject to the same restrictions of movement as other Palestinians. During recent Israeli air attacks, both Christians and Muslims have taken shelter in churches.

The verdict

The video is from May 2017 and shows militants affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) destroying St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Philippine city of Marawi. It is not connected to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. We have therefore rated the claim as false.

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