Rocket launch video unrelated to Iran attack on Israel

18 April 2024
What was claimed

A video shows missiles and drones being launched by Iran towards Israel on 13 April.

Our verdict

The footage has been online since 2014 and likely depicts conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

A video is being shared on social media and by some news outlets with false claims it shows Iran’s attack on Israel with drones and missiles.

The night-time clip shows projectiles apparently being fired from the ground into the sky in a rapid barrage. Some versions of the footage include an emoji of Iran’s flag in the top right corner.

These claims have been shared on Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube, and the video has also been included in video montages in news reports about Iran’s assault on 13 April

Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport also shared the video in two separate posts with his two million Instagram followers, adding in one: “The Iron Dome literally saved millions of life’s [sic] tonight”. We’ve contacted Mr Rapaport for comment, and will update this article if we receive a reply.

One caption of another Instagram post sharing the video says: “This is what Iran launched into Israel yesterday - Hundreds of missiles and drones.”

However, the video predates the current conflict in the Middle East, and has been online since 2014.

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Where is the video from?

A longer, higher quality version of the same video appeared on a Russian video platform on 30 November 2014, with the caption (translated from Russian by Google): “The Ukrainian army fires at the cities of Donbass from GRADs.” 

It was also uploaded to YouTube in December 2014.

Fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine began in 2014, with Ukrainian government forces fighting Russian-backed separatists for control over Donetsk and Luhansk.

Full Fact has been unable to verify whether the video shows rockets fired by Ukraine at cities in Donbas as claimed. 

Both Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have been recorded as using BM-21 ‘Grad’ multiple launch rocket systems in the conflict in Donbas.

However, the video certainly does not depict the drones and missiles launched from Iran, and other countries in the region, against Israel on 13 April.

Misinformation, often in the form of miscaptioned videos, can spread widely on social media during unfolding global events. You can read more about how to identify misleading content in our guides to fact checking images and videos.

Full Fact has debunked other videos falsely claimed to be related to Iran and Israel, including a computer-generated clip of a WW2 battle, a rocket attack in Syria, and fans of Louis Tomlinson in Argentina.

Image courtesy of Adam Jones

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