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World war high alert? No, video shows US troops in Romania in 2022, not ‘landing in Israel’ during 2023 Israel-Hamas war

IN SHORT: The US backs Israel in its war with Hamas, is providing military equipment and has moved aircraft carriers near the Israeli coast. But US troops aren’t on the ground – this viral video is from a year ago and another country.

A short blurry video of people in uniform walking off a plane has gone viral in Kenya and elsewhere since late October 2023 with the claim that “thousands of US marines just landed in Israel”.

“We’re about to see a WAR!” one caption adds. Another says: “World War 3 High Alert.”

The video and its claim can also be seen here, here and here.

The United States Marine Corps, or the marines, support the US navy on land, sea and in the air.

The Israel-Hamas war has been raging in the Middle East since 7 October, when Hamas launched a surprise and deadly attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,400 people and taking over 240 people hostage. Israel declared war on Hamas the next day.

Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, a narrow territory that lies mainly inside Israel. The strip is densely populated and poor. Its people are mainly Palestinian and predominantly Muslim.

Israel has since imposed a total blockade on Gaza, cutting electricity and stopping all supplies from entering the territory. Rocket strikes and ground fighting continue.

As of 9 November, it is estimated that more than 10,500 people have been killed in Gaza, including at least 4,324 children.

US president Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed his support for Israel in the war, condemning Hamas as a “terrorist organisation”. The US is helping Israel with the supply of military equipment.

The US has also sent two aircraft carriers into the eastern Mediterranean Sea near the coast of Israel.

But does the video really show thousands of US marines landing in Israel?

False claim about US troops landing in Israel

‘We have no intention to send troops to Israel’

On the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), comments on the claim say the video was actually shot in Romania in 2022. Romania is in eastern Europe.

And it was. A longer and clearer version of the video was posted on YouTube on 30 June 2022. The footage in the viral clip starts at the 20-second mark.

Text at the start of the video reads: “101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Soldiers arrive in Mikhail Kogainiceani, Romania, June 28, 2022.”

A search for this text led Africa Check to a US army press release dated 29 June 2022. It reads:

Elements of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) began arriving to the Mihail Kogalniceanum Airbase in Romania June 20, and are scheduled to continue arriving during the next several days.

[They] will support the U.S. Army V Corps' mission to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises with partners across the European continent in order to reassure allies and deter further Russian aggression.

The video can also be seen on the US military’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, dated 27 June.

In a 29 October 2023 TV interview, US vice president Kamala Harris said: “We have absolutely no intention nor do we have any plans to send combat troops into Israel or Gaza, period.”

The video was shot in 2022 in Romania. It doesn’t show US marines arriving in Israel in 2023.

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