By: Vivek J
October 9 2023
Screenshots of posts claiming to purportedly show video of Hamas attacking Israel. (Source:X/Sreenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Three separate video clips claiming to show Hamas militants attacking Israel are, in fact, stimulated visuals from the video game Arma 3.
What is the claim?
Israel declared a war-like situation and vowed to "retaliate against the infiltrators" hours after Hamas militants launched a massive rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on the morning of October 7. Hamas demolished the border fences, barged into Israeli territory, and attacked Israeli military installations and civilians.
According to a recent report, the death toll due to the conflict has crossed 1,100, with thousands more injured. Incidentally, these attacks by Hamas occurred on the 50th anniversary of the commencement of the fourth Arab-Israeli war, also known as the Yom Kippur War, that broke out on October 6, 1973.
Amid the ongoing conflict, several videos are going viral online claiming to show Hamas attacking Israeli forces and launching rockets into Israel. Three distinct videos have been shared online — one showing a soldier firing a surface-to-air shoulder-held missile and taking down a helicopter; the second showing dozens of rockets being launched by what looks like mobile bazookas; and the third showing two helicopters being shot down by missiles. These videos have been shared with captions such as, "BREAKING – Hamas militants started a new air assault on parts of Israel !!!" Some other captions read, "NEW VIDEO: Hamas fighters shooting down Israel war helicopter in Gaza." The archives of such posts can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.
Screenshots of posts with videos claiming to show Hamas attacking Israel. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, these viral clips are footage taken from the video game Arma 3.
What did we find?
A close look at the video showing a soldier shooting a surface-to-air missile and taking down a helicopter shows that it is CGI or a digitally created visual.
We conducted a reverse image search on multiple keyframes and came across the same viral video shared on YouTube by 'RIMStudio' on February 27. The description of this video noted that it was from Arma 3, a tactical shooting simulation game, and not from an actual incident. Arma 3 is a combat simulation video game developed by Prague-based game developers Bohemia Interactive.
Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and the Arma 3 video game shared on YouTube. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshots)
This video, which was uploaded on this YouTube channel in February 2023, has also been shared by several other social media users in the past, much before the recent Israel-Hamas conflict started.
We conducted a reverse image search on the keyframes of the video showing dozens of rockets being launched by what looks like mobile rocket launchers or bazookas, and it also led us to gameplay videos of Arma 3. The same clip was shared on YouTube by multiple channels. One channel had uploaded the video in February 2022, and another in December 2022. Both channels noted in the video description that the clip was from Arma 3.
Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and Arma 3 footage shared on YouTube. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshots)
This video once again predates the recent conflict in Israel, and it is clear that it comes from the popular video game.
This video shows two helicopters being shot down by missiles. Under the comment section of posts sharing the video in the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict, several users noted that the clip is from Arma 3.
A reverse image search of this video's keyframes also led us to similar videos from Arma 3. One such video was uploaded as a YouTube short on October 4 by user '@KazinkkaWarrior' and was titled, "Two combat helicopters shot down by anti-aircraft defense - Arma." The description of this video clearly states that the clip is "not representative of reality. It is just a simulation in the video."
Comparison of the screenshots from the viral clip and the Arma 3 visuals shared on YouTube. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshots)
Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several videos from Arma 3 had gone viral, prompting the game developer Bohemia Interactive to give a statement regarding the same. In the statement dated November 28, 2022, Pavel Křižka, public relations manager of the company was quoted as saying: "While it's flattering that Arma 3 simulates modern war conflicts in such a realistic way, we are certainly not pleased that it can be mistaken for real-life combat footage and used as war propaganda. It has happened in the past (Arma 3 videos allegedly depicted conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, and even between India and Pakistan), but nowadays this content has gained traction in regard to the current conflict in Ukraine."
Multiple videos from the game Arma 3 are being shared claiming to be from the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas that began on October 7. These claims are false.