A video showing school-age children receiving training in weaponry and military exercises is currently circulating on social media connecting the footage to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Through this article, let’s fact-check authenticity of the claim made in the viral post.
Claim: School-age children receiving training in weaponry and military exercises during the current Israel-Hamas conflict
Fact: These are old visuals depicting Hamas training children in the use of weaponry in the Gaza Strip. There are also reports indicating that Hamas is currently involving children in training for defense against Israel. Hence, the claim made in the post is MISLAEDING.
The images shared in the viral social media post depict training camps affiliated with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where children of school age are undergoing training in weaponry and military drills. However, it’s important to note that these visuals are not recent; they are at least two years old.
A YouTube search using relevant keywords led us to a news report from July 2021, which featured information about Hamas training children in military and weaponry skills at Gaza summer camps. Some of the visuals from this news report match those shared in the viral video, and the camp setup in the news report aligns with what is shown in the viral video. This evidence indicates that the viral visuals are unrelated to the ongoing conflict.
However, the Israeli Defense Forces recently shared the same viral visuals on their official YouTube channel, accompanied by a description that alleges the training camps are where Hamas terrorists indoctrinate young children and teenagers. This is likely the source of the viral claim. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that these visuals have been accessible on the internet for at least the past two years.
There are also recent reports of Hamas training children for the purpose of defending against Israel (here & here). This practice has been ongoing for many years, and there are previous reports detailing how Hamas has been training children in the use of weaponry (here, here & here).
To sum it up, old visuals of Hamas training children in weaponry are being circualted linking them to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.