This video shows US and Iraqi forces recapturing a sanctuary in Iraq in 2004
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A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in Facebook posts claiming it shows clashes between the IDF and Palestinian militants at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem in May 2021. The claim is false : The footage shows American and Iraqi troops reclaiming a sacred shrine in Iraq in 2004.
The video was shared on Facebook here on May 17, 2021. It has been viewed over 800,000 times.
“The Al Aqsa Mosque taken over by Israel It is the Israeli forces. One of the deadliest in the world. PLEASE JOIN OUR COMMUNITY, ”says the caption.
Major clashes erupted between Israel and Palestinian activists on May 7 as tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers filled the Al-Aqsa Mosque – holy to Jews like the Temple Mount – to pray on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan .
The unrest in Al-Aqsa escalated into deadly violence that killed more than 200 Palestinians and left thousands homeless, before a ceasefire was called on May 21.
The four-minute video was also shared here, here and here on Facebook.
The claim is false, however. The video shows American and Iraqi troops recapturing the sacred shrine of Al-Askari in the Iraqi city of Samarra in 2004.
A reverse image search on Yandex found a longer version of the video posted here on YouTube on September 7, 2010. The video is titled “Special Forces – Advisors in Iraq (part 1/2)”.
The clip circulating in deceptive social media posts begins at 6:19 a.m.
The second part of the video was uploaded on September 7, 2010 and titled “Special Forces – Advisers in Iraq (Part 2/2).
Below is a comparison of screenshots of the video in Misleading Articles (L) and YouTube Videos (R).
AFP found similar videos here and here on YouTube.
One of the videos has a caption in Arabic which reads: “The raid on the Golden Mosque took place on October 1, 2004 as part of the Battle of Samarra, also known as Operation Baton Rouge”.
“The 36th Iraqi Commando Battalion, led by US Special Forces troops (possibly 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group), breached the compound after an AH64 Apache took out an RPG team of three men in the mosque with Hellfire missiles ”.
The Golden Mosque refers to the shrine of Imam Al Askari in Samarra, one of Iraq’s holiest places for Shia Muslims, which was attacked in 2006.
The image of the shrine seen at 5:08 a.m. in the longest video corresponds to this AFP photo of the shrine of Imam Hassan al-Askari taken on October 2, 2004.
The caption for the AFP photo reads: “An American humvee patrols the golden mosque of Imam Hassan al-Askari in Samarra, October 2, 2004. The situation in that town was largely under control today. hui, with the exception of a few pockets of resistance, the Iraqi government declared, a day after a fierce US-Iraqi offensive to retake the city from the Sunni Arab insurgents ”.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the Golden Shrine in the misleading post video (L) and the AFP photo taken in 2004. (R)
The 36th Iraqi Commando Battalion fought alongside American troops after the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Together they planned to reclaim the Iraqi city of Samarra, launching a joint operation called “Baton Rouge “in October 2004, AFP reported.
This was also reported by other news websites including US-based Fox News, the Associated Press and UK-based Guardian news agency in 2004.
AFP found that the sleeve patches seen on the soldiers’ uniforms in the video matched those of the 36th Battalion and US troops.
Below is a screenshot of the crest on the sleeve of an Iraqi soldier’s uniform captured from the video, where the Iraqi flag and the number “36” – representing the 36th Battalion – are visible.
The same sleeve patch is listed here for the 36th Battalion on this Military Surplus Purchase website that says it was used from 2003 to 2005.
Below is a screenshot of the American flag sleeve crest on a soldier’s uniform from the video: