Video of children in cages predates Hamas attack on Israel

17 October 2023
What was claimed

Many posts on social media claim a video shows Israeli children held in cages by Hamas. Other posts suggest it is Palestinian children imprisoned by Israeli forces.

Our verdict

The video predates recent events and there’s no evidence proving the children are either Israeli held by Hamas or Palestinian held by Israeli forces.

Posts sharing a viral video of children in cages claim it is connected to recent events in Israel and the Gaza Strip. However, the video predates these events. 

The video shows five children in what appears to be a chicken coup and a man can be heard laughing and speaking Arabic in the background. It has been shared widely across Facebook, TikTok and X (formerly Twitter) over the past week. 

Most of the posts seen by Full Fact claim the clip shows Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas, with one post having over two million views and another with more than 10,000 likes. 

There are also a number of posts claiming the video actually shows Palestinian children held by Israeli forces. Other posts claim it’s an old video from Syria, although Full Fact found no evidence supporting this.

However, the video does predate the current conflict and was supposedly posted by a relative of the children. The claims it shows Israeli children held by Hamas or Palestinian children held by Israeli forces during recent events have been debunked by other fact checkers around the world

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What do we know about the video?

Several screenshots shared by the Hebrew-language fact-checking association, Fake Reporter, on the 8 and 9 October show the video was posted to TikTok four days previously, which means it was online before the recent conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip began on 7 October. 

While the TikTok account shown in the screenshots disappeared for several days, it reappeared with the video of the children deleted and another video of a man saying the footage does not show either Israeli children held by Hamas, or Palestinian children held by Israeli forces. 

A translation provided by the Middle East Institute (MEI) at SOAS University of London confirmed to Full Fact that the man says “these are my relatives and Palestinians” and the video was online “three days before the escalation”, as well as asking that people “stop putting comments [sic]”. 

It is not the original audio 

Moreover, the MEI also confirmed that the audio used in the footage of the children is not the original audio and has “nothing to do with the video”. They said the person in the audio says “to the olive tree” and the same track can be heard in many other TikTok videos on a wide range of different topics.

Similarly, fact checkers at Lead Stories reported that the caption used in the original post is an Arabic hashtag used for content intended to be funny. There are again multiple videos using this hashtag. 

Misinformation can spread quickly during large-scale news events. Full Fact has written about other false claims relating to recent events in Israel and the Gaza Strip, as well as floods in Libya, an earthquake in Morocco and wildfires in Maui

It's important to consider whether a post shows what it claims before sharing it online. We have tips on how to do this in our guides on How to spot misleading images online and How to fact check misleading videos

Image courtesy of Nir Smilga

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