IN SHORT: The Gaza Strip’s only border crossing into Egypt has largely been closed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, so a viral video of thousands of people passing through a gate is unlikely to show “Palestinians fleeing to Egypt”. And it doesn’t. The clip is from Azerbaijan.
Please note: This fact-checking report is about a breaking news story. Information was, as far as possible, correct at the time of publication but may change rapidly.
It shows a crowd of thousands of people packed into the T-junction of two roads and slowly passing through a gate with buildings behind it.
The clip first appeared online a week after the start of the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East.
Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. The Islamic Resistance Movement or Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, a narrow territory that lies mainly inside Israel but borders Egypt to the southwest. The strip is densely populated and poor. Its people are mainly Palestinian.
Israel responded with its own rocket strikes into Gaza and declared war on Hamas on 8 October.
The crossing is at the time of writing opened only rarely for humanitarian purposes.
Parents after Azerbaijani soldiers’ swearing-in ceremony
Africa Check took a screenshot of the first frame of the video and ran it through a Yandex reverse image search.
This led us to a version of the video, without the overlaid text, posted on instant messaging service Telegram on 13 August.
We put its caption into Google Translate, which identified the language as Azerbaijani.
The translation reads: “A crowd of parents after the swearing-in ceremony of young soldiers in military unit No. N.”
It also led us to a press release on the Azerbaijan defence ministry website. This says the 2023 “swearing-in ceremonies of young soldiers” in “ground forces, special general army, air force, other types of troops and special military units” was held on 13 August.
A second press release describes celebrations attended by the soldiers’ parents after the ceremony.
The video does not show Palestinians fleeing to Egypt. It was shot in Azerbaijan.
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