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FACT CHECK: Viral clip showing downed helicopters NOT affiliated with Israel-Hamas war

FACT CHECK: Viral clip showing downed helicopters NOT affiliated with Israel-Hamas war
October 28
10:26 2023

A viral clip on social media has shown helicopters shot down from the sky by rockets.

Claims trailing the clip allege that they are Israeli helicopters downed by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, in the ongoing war.

“Israeli helicopters getting smashed,” reads a post by @Sentletse, a verified X user who tweeted to his 273k followers on October 8.

In the video, two helicopters, one above the other, were flying in a countryside location before being hit with missiles and crashing to the ground, eventually bursting into flames.


As of the time of this report, the post has gathered 10.6m views, over 8k likes, 3k comments, 1k comments and bookmarks.


On October 7, Arun Gangwar, a journalist who claims to have worked with various Indian news outlets including India Daily Live, also posted the same video, while taking sides with Israel via his hashtags.

#HamasTerrorists Two helicopters of Israel Shot down by Hamas,” Gangwar tweeted.


So far, the post has gathered over 214k views, 489 likes, 150 comments, 95 retweets, and 25 bookmarks.


“Hamas fighter shot down two more helicopters of Israel in Gaza Palestine,” reads another X post from @its_ishaq_khan.



The post gathered 27k views, 20 comments, 22 likes, and 14 retweets.



On October 7, the Hamas militant group infiltrated Israel from Gaza in an unprecedented attack through the air, land and sea, opening another vicious chapter in the age-long, complex crisis between Israel and Palestine.

After the attack, some 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, were killed. Nearly 200 people were also taken hostage.

Gaza which is controlled by the militant group, is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, but with a short southern border with Egypt.

Hamas labelled the attack as “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm” and claimed it was planned for two years.

According to Hamas’ top commanders, more than 5,000 rockets have been launched into Israel in retaliation for the country’s “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the killing of hundreds of Palestinians.

Israel, in return, through Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, vowed that it would annihilate the Hamas militant group and asked residents of Gaza to flee the city as Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) would operate forcefully.

But are the circulating clips on social media affiliated with the Hamas’ attack on Israel?


A keyword search on X showed that the videos began to go viral from October 7, the day Hamas launched the surprise attack, and have been in circulation, with the latest shared on October 10.

A reverse image search further showed that an earlier version of the clip was posted on October 3 on YouTube via Kazinka Warrior, a video game community page.

“This is not representative of reality it is just a simulation,” the video’s description said.

A scan through the page showed similar gameplay videos specifically from Arma 3, a military simulation game that takes place in the middle of a futuristic fictional conflict in 2035.

Earlier in 2022, Bohemia Interactive, developers of Arma 3, released a statement saying that viral clips from the video game were falsely attributed to the war in Ukraine.

To differentiate gameplay footage from real-life conflicts, Bohemia Interactive asked individuals to look out for signs including low-resolution clips, unnatural particle effects such as oddly separated cloudlets, shaky camera, and an inability to effectively capture natural-looking humans in motion.


The viral clip showing two helicopters shot down by rockets from the sky is not affiliated with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The footage is from Arma 3, a military simulation game.

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