Fact check: Viral video doesn't show Hamas staging child's funeral

·4 min read

The claim: A video shows Hamas staging a funeral for a child amid its ongoing conflict with Israel

At least 103 people, including 27 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, a militant Palestinian organization. But on social media, some say Hamas officials are making the violence seem worse than it is.

A video published May 10 on Facebook shows people carrying a stretcher on a street during what appears to be a funeral procession. Later in the clip, the pallbearers scatter and the person on the stretcher stands up and runs away.

The caption says: "hamas tried to make a false funeral for a kid for tv... and than israel started to strike back... look what happend (sic)."

The video, which has more than 3,500 views, is one of several widely viewed clips that have circulated online this week as Israel and Hamas trade missile fire over escalating tensions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The violence comes after the Israeli government blocked gatherings of Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and moved to evict Palestinians from a neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

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But the clip in the Facebook post doesn't show Hamas staging a funeral for a child. The video traces back to a fake funeral that took place last year in Jordan, as other independent fact-checking organizations have pointed out. There's no evidence casualties in the Gaza Strip have been fabricated.

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who shared the video for comment.

Clip shows fake funeral in Jordan

The video in the Facebook post has been around since last spring — long before this week's fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip. The clip shows a funeral that was staged in Jordan near the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Al Roeya, a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, reported in March 2020 that the video had gone viral on Twitter. The clip shows young people holding a fake funeral as a ruse to leave their homes and get around Jordan's coronavirus restrictions, according to Al Roeya and other Arabic-language news outlets.

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In mid-March 2020, the Jordanian government closed schools, borders and gatherings in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions were followed by a brief total lockdown, during which people weren't allowed to leave their homes — even for essential trips.

In the video of the fake funeral, a siren blares in the background as the purported pallbearers drop the stretcher. A laugh can also be heard, hinting at the fact that the clip isn't meant to be taken seriously.

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USA TODAY and other fact-checkers could find no evidence that the deaths of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been staged.

The estimated death toll of 103 comes from the Gaza health ministry. Israel says it has carried out airstrikes on Hamas military installations. Images from the Gaza Strip show the destruction caused by those airstrikes.

Our rating: False

The claim that a video shows Hamas staging a funeral for a child amid its ongoing conflict with Israel is FALSE, based on our research. In fact, the clip shows young people holding a fake funeral to get around Jordan's coronavirus restrictions in March 2020. There's no evidence that Palestinian deaths have been fabricated.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Hamas didn't stage funeral, as viral video claims

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