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Viral video shows bombing in Sudan, not Israeli attack on Gaza civilians

IN SHORT: Misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war has been circulating online since the conflict escalated in October 2023. This video that claims to show Israel dropping a bomb on Palestinians in Gaza is also false; it’s from the Sudan conflict.

Warning: This report fact-checks a disturbing video. Discretion is advised. It also includes details about a breaking news story. Information was, as far as possible, correct at the time of publication but may change rapidly. 

A video circulating on Facebook in November 2023 shows what appears to be a bomb being dropped on civilians gathered near large white tanks. The aerial footage shows the bomb falling from the sky until it detonates in the middle of the crowd. Black smoke billows shortly after, while some people can be seen fleeing.

One of the captions accompanying the 30-second video clip reads: “Palestinians in Gaza rushed to the water tanks to draw the last of what was left in them, so they gathered around the water pipe to fill their bottles with whatever remaining water was available. Israel Defense Force (IDF) took advantage with a bomb dropped directly above them to kill them. Spread this clip so that people know about the barbarism and atrocity committed by Israel.”

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) is the country’s military organisation. Its mission is to protect and defend Israel and its civilians, according to its website

The video has also been posted here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. But what exactly does it show? 


Israel-Hamas war in a nutshell

Israel, a small country in the Middle East, and Palestine have been in conflict for decades. 

The Palestinian armed group, Hamas, launched an attack on Israel on 7 October. Rockets were fired and thousands of armed men crossed the Gaza border, killing a reported 1,400 people in Israel.

Israel responded with its own rocket strikes into Gaza and declared war on Hamas on 8 October.

Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, a narrow territory that lies mainly within Israel. The strip is densely populated. Poverty is high. The people who live there are mainly Palestinian. 

By 23 November, more than 14,500 people had reportedly been killed in Gaza, while talks of a ceasefire looked promising.

The war has exacerbated the water crisis in the area, with the United Nations (UN) a global organisation dedicated to peace and security warning of an imminent outbreak of waterborne diseases

Viral video is from different conflict

We found no media reports of Israel bombing Palestinians seeking water in Gaza. Such an incident would’ve been widely covered given the global interest in the war. 

A reverse image search of the video’s keyframes led us to a longer clip posted on Facebook by the international news agency Al Jazeera on 12 October. A machine translation of its caption reads, in part: “‎Sudanese army bombed a ‘tanker’ of fuel belonging to the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum‎.”

Khartoum‎ is the capital city of Sudan, a country in north-eastern Africa. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is a paramilitary group, accused of carrying out “ethnically motivated attacks” in the country.

Other fact-checking organisations also found the video was of a bombing at a fuel station in Khartoum‎, not Gaza, here, here and here

The conflict in Sudan 

On 15 April, fighting broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), the country’s military government, and the RSF for control of the country. 

Fighting has been concentrated in and around the Darfur area and Khartoum.

The UN refugee agency said the conflict between the rival forces in Sudan was intensifying. By 7 November, more than 4.5 million people had been internally displaced, more than a million had fled to neighbouring countries and many more had been killed.

The video circulating on Facebook does not show a bombing in Gaza. It shows the Sudanese army attacking fuel tanks belonging to the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum. 

Spreading false information about the war could intensify tensions and cause further panic, making it harder for those affected to get help.

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