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

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.

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 havepointed 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.

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.

طرائف #كورونا.. شبان أردنيون ابتدعوا حيلة للخروج من المنزل فأقاموا جنازة وهمية لصديقهم.. وهذا ما حدث معهم فور سماعهم صافرات إنذار #حظر_التجول#حظر_كامل#الأردن#الاردن_كورونا#غرائب#StayAtHome#StayAtHomeSaveLives#حول_العالم#فيروس_كورونا_المستجدّpic.twitter.com/zgynhTOZHS

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.

Our fact-check sources:

  • AFP Fact Check, May 13, This video has circulated in posts since March 2020 about a Covid-19 stunt in Jordan
  • Al Roeya, March 24, 2020, In the video, a fake funeral to break the ban in Jordan … and the police whistle returns the “dead” to his home
  • Alt News, May 13, Old fake funeral video from Jordan viral to discredit reports of Palestinian casualties
  • Associated Press, May 13, Israel, Hamas trade more rockets in escalating conflict. Egypt officials arrive to negotiate cease-fire, officials say
  • CNN, March 26, 2020, Jordan eases lockdown after total curfew leads to chaos
  • Facebook video, May 10
  • First Draft, May 13, The daily briefing
  • Jordan Times, March 14, 2020, Schools suspended, borders closed, gatherings banned as gov’t responds to continued coronavirus spread
  • The Quint, May 13, 2020 Clip From Jordan Passed Off as Palestinians Faking Casualties
  • Reuters, May 13, Fact Check-Video showing body rising from stretcher is not linked to current situation in Gaza
  • Reuters, May 13, Gaza conflict intensifies with rocket barrages and air strikes
  • RevEye, accessed May 13
  • Roya News, March 23, 2020, Facebook
  • USA TODAY, May 11, Al-Aqsa mosque taken from prayer to violence: Divergent photos from one of Islam’s holiest sites
  • USA TODAY, May 11, Graphics show rising violence as Israelis use airstrikes against Palestinian rocket attacks
  • USA TODAY, May 11, What to know about the Israel, Hamas escalation as Biden faces pressure on Palestinian rights
  • 24.ae, March 24, 2020, Twitter

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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