Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Bombing In Rafah In May 2024 -- It's Northern Gaza In November 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Bombing In Rafah In May 2024 -- It's Northern Gaza In November 2023 2023

Does a viral video show Israeli strikes in Rafah in May 2024? No, that's not true: The video was first posted on November 10, 2023. At the time, news organizations published reports about most fighting being concentrated on the opposite side of Gaza -- not in the south where Rafah is, but in the north.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on May 28, 2024. It began:

🚨🇵🇸 BREAKING: These are fire belts Rafah is under heavy bombing right now!


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

Screenshot 2024-06-04 at 11.14.21 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue Jun 4 15:14:21 2024 UTC)

The video appeared to show a night explosion. It resurfaced on social media as Israel continued its military operation in Rafah (archived here), a city in southern Gaza at the border with Egypt.

However, the video was first uploaded on the Internet roughly half a year before that.

On November 10, 2023, the footage was published not only by accounts on social media (archived here), but also by news organizations such as CNN (archived here) and the U.K.'s Times (archived here) which added a banner saying that both Reuters and the Turkish state news agency Anadolu also distributed it.

Early versions of the video contained an Arabic watermark crediting Gaza-based photographer Feras Al Ajrami (archived here), though, as of this writing, the footage did not appear among that person's posts on Instagram.

On that day -- November 10, 2023 -- news reports discussed strikes affecting hospitals in northern Gaza. Some, including the Voice of America (archived here), listed the names of the facilities. Other publications such as the Wall Street Journal (archived here) and the U.K.'s Telegraph (archived here) published maps detailing the locations of the affected hospitals.

Video, textual and graphic reports mentioned the Al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza, and that is consistent with the word "Awda" seen on the car's door in the video that is the focus of this fact check:

Screenshot 2024-06-04 at 11.13.57 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue Jun 4 15:13:57 2024 UTC)

A photo (archived here) of that hospital on Google Maps (archived here) showed a similar car with the same inscription and apple-shaped logo also seen on the facade of the building:

Screenshot 2024-06-04 at 1.29.57 PM.png

(Source: Google Maps screenshot taken on Tue Jun 4 17:29:57 2024 UTC)

Other Lead Stories fact checks concerning the claims about the Hamas-Israel war can be found 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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