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Video shows Ramadan gathering at al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and not Palestinians celebrating Iran's attack on Israel

IN SHORT: Several Facebook users have posted a video that they claim shows Palestinians celebrating Iran’s attack on Israel. But the video, taken at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, was filmed during the holy month of Ramadan, before the 13 April attack.

Note: This report includes details about a developing news story. Information was, as far as possible, correct at the time of publication but may change rapidly.

Several Facebook users have posted a video of a crowd chanting and clapping, claiming it shows Palestinians celebrating Iran’s attack on Israel.

One such post, dated 14 April 2024, reads: “Palestinians celebrate at Al-Aqsa Mosque after hearing the news of Iran's attack on Israel.”

The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is of immense significance in Islam and is considered the third holiest site in the faith, after Mecca and Medina

The mosque compound is also a central flashpoint in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The current crisis, widely called the Israel-Hamas or the Israel-Gaza war, began after Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza on 7 October 2023. 

Israel has subsequently waged war on Gaza and by 29 April 2024, Israeli action had killed a reported 34,488 Palestinians in Gaza and internally displaced 1.7 million more residents from their homes.

The claims of Palestinians celebrating at al-Aqsa mosque come after reports that Iran launched an attack on Israel on 13 and 14 April. This was in retaliation for the Israeli killing of Iranian officers in Damascus, Syria.

Similar posts can be found on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. On Instagram, similar posts can be found here and here.

But does this video show Palestinians celebrating Iran’s attack on Israel? We checked.

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Video shows different gathering

Using Invid, a video verification tool, Africa Check found that the video was posted online before Iran’s attack on Israel.

It was posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on 5 April. Here it was captioned: “Kudüs kıyamda. Yer : Mescidi Aksa.”’

Google’s machine translation recognised this as Turkish and translated it to: “Jerusalem is on the rise. Location: Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The video was also posted on Instagram on 11 April, captioned “Lebbeyk Ya Aksa”, which translates from Arabic to “Here you are, O al-Aqsa” or “At your service, O al-Aqsa”. 

It sounds as though the people in the video are changing “labbayk”, but what follows is not clear. The Arabic phrase “Labbayka Allahumma labbayk”, which means “Here I am, O Allah, here I am”, is associated with the Muslim pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca. 

Using the keywords “Labbayk Ya Aqsa” we found a clearer version of the video on Facebook, posted on 6 April. The caption of the video reads: “27th night of Ramadan ‘Labbayk Ya Aqsa’.”

This makes it likely that the gathering was filmed during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast for 29 or 30 days. Ramadan ran from 11 March to 9 April in 2024. 

The same video was also posted on YouTube on 6 April.

It was filmed before Iran’s attack on Israel and most likely shows Muslims at al-Aqsa during Ramadan.

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