Claim: Videos show Hamas fighters shooting down Israeli helicopters amid the recent escalation between Israel and Palestine.

Fact: The clips were shared on social media in February and October, before the escalation, and are actually from the video game Arma 3.

Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, launched a “surprise attack” on Israel on 7 October 2023 via sea, land, and air. In response, the Israeli government formally declared war on Hamas on 8 October 2023. The Israeli bombardment of Gaza continues, as of writing time. 

At least 1,300 fatalities have been reported in Israel, while more than 2,800 people have been killed in Gaza, Palestine. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA, has reported that over one million people, almost half the total population of Gaza, have been displaced.

Fact or Fiction?

On 8 October 2023, Facebook user Shahzaib Pml N shared a video claiming it shows Hamas fighters shooting down an Israel war helicopter in Gaza, Palestine.

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false. A reverse-image search led us to multiple videos of Arma 3, an open world tactical shooter simulation video game, on YouTube. Taking a cue from this, we searched “arma helicopter shot down” on YouTube, which led us to a short uploaded by @rimstudio on 27 February 2023. 

The description of the video suggests that it’s not real, “just a military simulation” created using content from Bohemia Interactive, a video game developer which focuses on military simulations.

In the clip, a helicopter can be seen crashing down after a shooter fires three missiles at it.

A comparison graphic below shows the similarities between the viral video and the video we found on YouTube.

Another video is also making rounds on social media with the claim that it shows four Israeli helicopters being shot down by Hamas fighters.

Soch Fact Check searched for videos on YouTube with the term “Arma 3 – 4 helicopters shot down” and found the same clip uploaded by @KazinkkaWarri on 4 October. It is accompanied by an #arma3 hashtag and the description clearly states it’s a simulation.

Hence, the viral videos are unrelated to the recent escalation between Palestine and Israel.

Virality:

The video was shared here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, and here on Facebook.

The claim was shared here, here, here, here, here, here, as well as here by TikTok influencer Hareem Shah on Twitter.

Shah’s tweet gained significant traction with 2.6 million views, 10,900 likes, and 2,980 retweets.

Conclusion: The videos are false as they predate the Hamas attack on Israel and are made using a video game simulator called Arma 3.

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