'Fake news': Netanyahu spokesman uses 2018 Syria footage in claim Hamas attacking from Gaza neighbourhoods
A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video claiming to show a flurry of rockets being launched from civilian areas in the Gaza strip, which Arab social media users have identified as a video of Syrian regime fighters firing rockets in southern Syria in 2018.
Zaina Erhaim, a Syrian journalist, alerted her Twitter followers on Tuesday morning to a video posted by Ofir Gendelman, Netanyahu's self-described spokesperson to the Arab media.
The 28-second clip shows at least 18 missiles being fired from a residential area, which Gendelman has captioned: "Here is more decisive proof: The terrorist Hamas militia continued to launch intentionally launch rockets from within residential areas in the Gaza strip. This is a reprehensive war crime."
"A third of the missiles Hamas fires at Israel fall within the Gaza Strip, killing Palestinian civilians, including children," the caption continues.
Gendelman's statement is in line with recurrent claims by the Israeli political and military establishment, which accuse the Palestinian militant group of using human shields and killing civilians within their territory when rocket attacks 'go wrong', with the ostensible aim of absolving the Israeli military of blame.
Erhaim identified the video as actually showing Syrian pro-regime fighters launching rockets from Syria's southern province of Daraa in 2018.
The Syrian journalist posted a link to what she said was the original video on YouTube, posted in June 2018, around the time regime forces retook control of the area with Russian assistance.
Read also: The cradle of Syria's revolution: Daraa ten years on
Whereas the video posted by Gendelman features a red hashtag which reads #Gaza now, the video shared by Erhaim is unedited and entitled: "Elephant rockets which were launched at the province of Daraa by Assad’s thugs”.
Numerous Arab activists, writers and journalists responded to Gendelman's post, including Ramy Abdu, the founder of human rights watchdog Euro-Med Monitor, who wrote: "Funny, the video from Syrian civil war".
Recent Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed at least 48 Palestinians, including 14 children. Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants responded with a barrage of rockets at central Israel in retaliation for the strikes.
One Israeli was killed by rocket fire near Tel Aviv, medics said on Tuesday evening. Another two Israeli civilians were killed on Monday.