VERA FILES FACT CHECK: This video is from a 2004 mosque raid in Iraq, NOT Israel

A 2004 video of military forces securing a mosque during the Iraq War has been resurfaced and spuriously passed off as a clip of the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Palestine.

FB page New Viral Channel posted the four-minute and 19-second-long video on May 15 with the caption “Israel update today … Israel situation today.” Armed troops are seen advancing toward a golden-domed mosque, while explosions and gunshots could be heard throughout the clip.

Running the frames of the video through a reverse image search yielded several copies of the clip published years before the latest spate of violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas, which exchanged airstrikes and rocket attacks this month.

The earliest traceable copy of the clip could be found in a two-part video uploaded on Youtube in September 2010 titled “Special Forces – Advisors in Iraq.”

In August last year, verified YouTube channel FUNKER530 – Veteran Community & Combat Footage also posted a copy of the video and stated in its caption it was taken during the “raid on the Golden Mosque” on Oct. 1, 2004 in Samarra, Iraq.

Toward the end of the circulating video appeared text stating the operation was led by “Task Force Viper” and the “36th Commando Bn” that led to the killing of four enemies and the capture of 25.

This matches several news accounts of the 2004 Battle of Samarra, which included the raid of the Golden Mosque or Al-Askari Mosque by Iraq’s 36th Battalion, as reported by The Guardian, India-based media Outlook, and Fox News.

Additionally, a comparison between the mosque and the structure shown at the 2:45 timestamp of New Viral Channel’s video reveals a clear resemblance between the two.

The erroneous FB post carrying the video continues to circulate among Filipino netizens as the aerial exchanges between Israel and Hamas sparked calls from world powers for a ceasefire lest the fighting lead to a return to an all-out war between. As of May 21, the death toll of Palestinians in Gaza has reached over 200.

The resurfaced video has received more than 112,000 views, 2,400 reactions, 1,200 comments, and 1,500 shares from netizens. Social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle shows the post could have reached almost one million FB users.

New Viral Channel, created in October 2020, has a number of posts in Filipino language, suggesting a Philippine-based page administrator. Earlier this week, VERA Files Fact Check flagged another dated video that was falsely shared in the context of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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