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Did Israel Destroy This Mosque? No, It’s a 2014 Video From Syria

The 2014 video from Syria of ISIS blowing up a shrine is being shared with the claim of it being a recent video.

Updated
WebQoof
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The video shows a shrine being blown up by ISIS in Raqqa, Syria in 2014.</p></div>
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A clip of a mosque being destroyed is being shared on social media to falsely claim that Israel bombed the structure in Palestine, amid the escalating tension between Israel and Palestine.

The domed structure, clearly visible for only a few moments, can be seen disappearing into a thick cloud of smoke within a few seconds.

However, we found that the video, which dates back to 2014, was from Raqqa, Syria, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) destroyed the Shi'ite Uwais al-Qarni mosque.

CLAIM

Various users across social media are sharing the short clip with claims insinuating that Israel's forces are responsible for the mosque's destruction.

This post claims that Israel's bombardment of Palestine has destroyed the world's third largest mosque.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>An archived version of this post can be found <a href="https://perma.cc/MYJ6-LM5D">here</a>.</p></div>

An archived version of this post can be found here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

The video was also shared by Twitter account 'Hindu Ecosystem Official' with a similar claim. An archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

Other similar claims on Twitter can be found here and here. The Quint recieved a query about the claim on its WhatsApp tipline as well.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

Using video verification tool InVID, we broke down the video into several keyframes and followed it up with a reverse image search. This led us to the same video uploaded on a website called Islamic Invitation Turkey, which was published in June 2014.

The article identified the structure as Uwais al-Qarni mosque.

We then conducted a keyword search using 'Uwais al-Qarni mosque' and came across a tweet by a user Aaron Zelin. He had posted a GIF with a caption, "ISIS blows up the Uways al-Qarani shrine in al-Raqqa, Syria".

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/a3J1I">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

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We then checked the Google Earth imagery of the said shrine and found that the structure existed in March 2014 but was partially destructed in the imagery from October 2014.

The minarets of the mosque in this imagery from Syria match the ones from the viral clip.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Minarets from old Google Earth imagery (left) and the ones in the viral video (right).</p></div>

Minarets from old Google Earth imagery (left) and the ones in the viral video (right).

(Image altered by The Quint)

We also found that the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) website also carried before and after images of the site in Raqqa, showing the destruction of the mosque. These images are a part of Syria's cultural heritage sites report by the organisation.

Did Israel Destroy This Mosque? No, It’s a 2014 Video From Syria

(Source: Screenshot/ unitar.org)

We further found a video compilation by Mint and Hindustan Times’ financial subsidiary. The video, uploaded on 26 August 2015 titled, ‘5 ancient sites destroyed by ISIS’ in Iraq and Syria shows the viral clip from the 01:55 mark.

A CNN report from 2018, highlighting the destruction in Syria during seven years of war also carries a GIF of the mosque site. It shows before and after imagery, with the first image from before 2012 and the 'after' from 2018. The report states that 'ISIS militants' bombed the Uwais al-Qarni mosque at Raqqa, ISIS's capital in 2014.

The viral video is clearly not a recent one as the claim states. The mosque was destroyed by ISIS in Raqqa, Syria in 2014 and not by Israeli forces this year.

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