On Oct. 12, 2023, TikTok user @america_newstv posted a video with a caption that said it showed Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. The caption read, "Video shows the moment an Israeli airstrike hit and leveled the 14-story al-Shorouk Tower in Gaza amid an escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas." The clip was viewed nearly 2 million times.
While both captions were correct, there's one key fact that was missing from the posts: the clip was recorded on May 12, 2021, not in October 2023.
The video was reposted just days following Hamas' Oct. 7, 2023, surprise attack on Israel. The timing of the posts may have given some users the wrong impression that the clip was new.
The video truly did show an Israeli airstrike destroying the al-Shorouk Tower in Gaza, as Reuters previously reported in April 2022 when the clip was being misleadingly shared with a caption that said it was filmed in Ukraine.
It was also true that the airstrikes were aired live on a news broadcast.
On the same day the video was originally captured in 2021, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on X an earlier video of a live news broadcast that showed the same airstrikes. The upper-left corner of the video displayed the word "live" in Hebrew, as did the lower-third graphic, that translated with Google Translate to, "Live: The IDF is attacking Gaza." (We were unable to determine the name of the news channel.)
The caption of the news broadcast, when translated to English, read, "Whoever shoots at us - blood on his head. Kudos to the IDF."
מי שיורה עלינו - דמו בראשו. כל הכבוד לצה״ל. pic.twitter.com/SX9PSzUUUv
— Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) May 12, 2021
According to The Associated Press, the al-Shorouk Tower "housed businesses as well as offices for Hamas’ Al-Aqsa satellite TV channel." It was located in what was known as "the old Roman neighborhood, on the busiest shopping street in Gaza." The reporting included no information about deaths or injuries specifically from the building that collapsed in the 2021 video.
Later on the same day as those airstrikes – at a time when it was very early in the morning on the following day ("on Thursday") in Israel and Gaza – Reuters provided recent numbers of those killed in multiple incidents in the region:
At least 103 people have been killed in Gaza, including 27 children, over the past four days, Palestinian medical officials said. On Thursday alone, 49 Palestinians were killed in the enclave, the highest single-day figure since Monday.
Seven people have been killed in Israel: a soldier patrolling the Gaza border, five Israeli civilians, including two children, and an Indian worker, Israeli authorities said.
It's unclear if these numbers of Palestinians killed in the May 2021 airstrikes were provided by the Hamas-run health ministry or by other officials.
“14-Story Building In Gaza Collapses After Israeli Airstrikes.” YouTube, NBC News, May 12, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5HAeXYOrbc.
Al-Mughrabi, Nidal, and Jeffrey Heller. “Gaza Conflict Intensifies with Rocket Barrages and Air Strikes.” Reuters, May 12, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/biden-expects-spiralling-israel-gaza-conflict-end-soon-2021-05-12/.
@america_newstv. “Video Shows the #moment an #Israeli #airstrike Hit and Leveled the 14-Story al-Shorouk Tower in #Gaza amid an Escalating Conflict between #Israel and #Hamas.” TikTok, Oct. 12, 2023, https://www.tiktok.com/@america_newstv/video/7288969805024087326.
“Dramatic Footage Shows Gaza Under Attack And Missiles Targeting Israel.” YouTube, Insider News, May 13, 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQQ8X97EYu0.
“Fact Check-Video Shows Israeli Air Strike in Gaza, Not Ukraine-Russia War.” Reuters, April 6, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-ukraine-gaza-idUSL2N2W41EF.
@netanyahu. “מי שיורה עלינו - דמו בראשו. כל הכבוד לצה״ל.” X, May 12, 2021, https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/1392517963388014597.
“The Latest: Netanyahu Raps ‘anarchy’ of Jewish-Arab Fighting.” The Associated Press, May 12, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-3a1c810bc2c08023543c911635cc83cf.