VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NO recent Hamas threat to attack PH

Hamas will attack the Philippines

YouTube channel Boss Balita TV 2023-10-14 False

It is not true that Hamas threatened to attack the Philippines amid its ongoing war with Israel.

The group attempted to operate in the country in 2018 and 2022 but authorities were able to stop them, according to the National Security Council.

A YouTube video claimed that Hamas will attack the Philippines, amid the Palestinian militant group’s ongoing armed conflict with Israel. This is false. The group did try to infiltrate the country but this happened years ago and authorities were able to quell its attempts to establish their presence locally. 

Uploaded on Oct. 14, the video bore the headline:

NAKAKATAKOT PINAG HAHANDA NA MILITAR! PBBM BINALAAN NG ISRAEL! HAMAS AATAKE SA PINAS! GYERA NATALAGA (Scary. The military has been asked to prepare! PBBM warned by Israel! Hamas will attack the Philippines! This is really war).” 

Hamas attempted to gain a foothold in the country twice in the past five years but failed, National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said in PTV’s Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon program on Oct. 16. 

The first attempt happened in 2018 when bomb expert Taha Mohamed al-Jabouri, who was believed to be connected to Hamas, was arrested in the country. 

Later in 2022, the Philippine National Police’s intelligence unit reported that Hamas operatives, led by its foreign liaison Fares Al Shikli, were allegedly talking to local extremist groups to help them stage terror activities locally. 

Malaya, however, assured the public that authorities were able to stop Hamas’ attempts to operate in the Philippines:

“[A]ng magandang balita po ay natigil po natin ‘yan sa pakikipagtulungan natin sa ibang mga bansa (The good news is that we were able to stop it through our cooperation with other countries).”

Source: PTV Philippines YouTube channel, “PTV Livestream,” Oct. 16, 2023 

The false video emerged the same day that National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said the agency is planning to designate Hamas as a terrorist organization. 

The erroneous video merely played several unrelated news clips, including a Feb. 15, 2022 PTV report about Hamas’ foiled recruitment attempts in the country and recent reports from TV5 and DZBB about the Israel-Hamas war. 

Uploaded by YouTube channels Boss Balita TV, BALITA NI JUAN and WANGBUDISS TV, the video has garnered a total of 100,124 views, 3,100 likes and 662 comments. Facebook users also reposted the links. 

VERA Files Fact Check previously flagged these channels for spreading disinformation related to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. 

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)