Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Hamas Paragliders Invading Israel -- Forces Fly Egyptian Flag

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Hamas Paragliders Invading Israel -- Forces Fly Egyptian Flag Egypt

Did a viral video shot from what appeared to be a balcony by "a random civilian" become "another visual of the invasion" of Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023? No, that's not true: The original upload of this footage did not link the video to Hamas' attack. Similar videos apparently filmed at the same location clearly show Egypt's flag, not Hamas', attached to paragliders flying in the sky.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on Instagram on October 12, 2023. It opened:

This is another visual of the invasion from a random civilian of the Hamas fighters. If you're not exercising your 2nd amendment right. You NEED to ASAP. Credit/ @brrrrt_corp #invaid #invasion #prepare

Here is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-10-16 at 2.44.52 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Oct 16 18:44:52 2023 UTC)

The shared video showed a squad of paragliders flying over an urban residential area. One of them tows a flag consisting of red, white and black bands:

Screen Shot 2023-10-13 at 10.04.37 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Oct 13 14:04:37 2023 UTC)

These are not the colors of either of the parties in the conflict zone. Hamas uses all-green flags, and the Palestinian National Authority is represented by a tricolor with black, white and green stripes, which are overlaid by a red triangle on the left.

Israel's national colors are white and blue with a large hexagram in the middle.

Contrary to what the post in question stated, the account credited as a source (archived here) did not state that the video portrayed the October 2023 Hamas-Israel conflict. At the time of writing, the edited caption of its October 12, 2023, post said:

Not a video of Hamas. Looks like this is from an Air Show.

Furthermore, Lead Stories established that, in fact, the brrrrt_corp Instagram page was not the first to publish the video.

The footage (archived here) was uploaded to TikTok several days earlier: on October 10, 2023. It did not contain any caption tying the visuals to the Hamas attack:

Screen Shot 2023-10-16 at 3.39.18 PM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Oct 16 19:39:18 2023 UTC)

Over several days, the same account on TikTok published five videos filmed at the same location in the same weather conditions and at the same time of the day, which suggests that all those clips depicted the same event.

In addition to paragliders, the footage captured military jets (archived here) performing what looked more like an element of an air show than an offensive:

Screen Shot 2023-10-16 at 3.44.37 PM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Oct 15 19:44:37 2023 UTC)

The most recent video (archived here) published by this account on TikTok on October 15, 2023, showed paragliders again. This time, a closeup demonstrated a better view of a red-white-and-black tricolor with a characteristic emblem in the middle, which distinguishes the Egyptian flag from other countries using the same national colors:

Screen Shot 2023-10-16 at 2.31.59 PM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Oct 16 18:31:59 2023 UTC)

While bits of the surrounding residential area in the frame lacked the signs immediately tying the footage to a specific location, the overall appearance of the buildings was consistent with what, for example, can be seen in Cairo: It appeared to be a densely populated area with standardized low- to medium-rise buildings.

In contrast, Israeli kibbutzim along the Gaza border that were among the first targets of the October 7, 2023, attack initially were established as agricultural communes, and, therefore, predominantly consisted of smaller private homes surrounded by undeveloped land.

Had Egypt participated in the attack on Israel in October 2023, especially in such an overt manner, advancing in the air with a national flag, that would have caused intense diplomatic exchanges and numerous public statements of elected officials in different countries that would have been widely reported by the media. But no credible sources even remotely suggested that it was the case: A search across Google News (archived here) does not produce any relevant results.

It is not the first case when unrelated footage of paragliders was claimed to show the Hamas-Israel conflict. Lead Stories previously debunked similar claims misleading about a paraglider's crash in South Korea and an unrelated event in Egypt.

Other Lead Stories fact checks that mention the Hamas-Israel conflict are here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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