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Old images are unrelated to terrorist Masood Azhar’s alleged death

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Claim: Chief of the extremist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, Masood Azhar, was kiIIed in a bomb expIosion by unknown men, on his way back from a mosque in Bahawalpur.

Fact: Old images and videos from a 2021 car bomb blast in Quetta, a 2023 bomb blast in DI Khan and a road accident from 2019 were used to falsely claim that Masood Azhar was killed in a recent bomb blast. 

On 1 January 2024, Dr Syed Rizwan Ahmed, an Indian social media influencer, shared a post (archived) with three old images claiming that Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammed has been killed in a bomb blast by unknown assailants. One of the images is of Masood Azhar, and the other two display the site of the alleged incident.  

Out of the images claiming to show the site of the bomb blast, one is of a battered car, and the other shows a site caught on fire with three police officers in visible disarray, allegedly in the aftermath of a bomb blast. 

Another Indian X user, @Shunyaa00 also posted (archived) a video, claiming to document the bomb explosion which killed Azhar. 

Fact or Fiction?

At the time of publishing, Soch Fact Check cannot verify is Azhar has indeed been killed or not, but the photos and images being shared are unrelated.

We reverse-image searched the key frames of the video shared on X, and found that the clip was shared as early as 3 November 2023 by politician and co-founder of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), Ali Wazir, who claimed it shows a bomb blast in DIKhan. 

Soch Fact Check also reverse-image searched the two pictures on X claiming to show the site of the incident in the aftermath of the bomb blast, 

We found the exact image of the battered car carried in a news article by MM News from 15 September 2019. According to the article, the image shows a car in the aftermath of an accident which took place in Islamabad when “a speeding car lost control and rammed into a tree on Sunday morning killing four people in the capital.” The family in the car was driving from Faizabad to Zero Point when the driver lost control of the car killing Danial (son of Shaikh Allah), Aoun Arafat (son of Yasir Arafat), Usama (son of Pervaiz Akhter) and Daniyal (son of Shabbir), the articles adds. 

Reverse-searching the image of a site caught on fire took us to a DW article from 22 March 2021 with the headline “Pakistan: Deadly car bomb rocks luxury hotel in Quetta”. The report which carries the image in question, describes an attack on a luxury hotel in Quetta from 2021 which killed 4 people. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) accepted responsibility for the attack, the report adds. 

The video of the bomb blast as well as the images in the viral tweet have no apparent link with any incident involving the JeM leader, Masood Azhar. 

We also spoke to Ihsanullah Tipu from The Khorasan Diary who confirmed after a conversation with one of Azhar’s close friends,  that he has not been killed. According to Tipu, news of Masood Azhar’s death is important enough for some kind of confirmation to be available in mainstream media.

Virality

On X, the claim received more than 10,183 interactions and was viewed over 618,300 times here, here, and here

On Facebook, the claim was shared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Conclusion: Jaish-e-Mohammed’s leader, Masood Azhar was not killed by unknown assailants in Pakistan. Old images and videos from a 2021 car bomb blast in Quetta, a 2023 bomb blast in D.I. Khan and a road accident from 2019 were used out of context to falsely claim that they show a bomb blast which killed Jaish-e-Mohammed’s leader, Masood Azhar. At the time of publishing, Soch Fact Check cannot verify if Azhar has indeed been killed or not, but the photos and images being shared are unrelated.

Background image in cover photo: Hindustan Times 

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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