On the intervening night of 25 and 26 February, the Indian Air Force carried out air strikes across the LoC at around 3:30 am. According to reports, 12 Mirage 2000 Indian Fighter jets dropped 1,000 kg bombs, destroying terror camps across the LoC. With no official information or videos etc, many fake videos have been doing the rounds.
Multiple Indian media channels have been using a particular video while reporting on the air strikes, making it look like actual footage from the strikes carried out by India. In the video, a fighter jet flies across the night sky, issuing flares. CNN News18 was among the news channels projecting this video as actual footage from the strikes.
In a tweet which has now been deleted, CNN News18 used the video, saying that that the accompanying video showed actual footage of the air strikes.
India Today, India TV, Economic Times and Times Now also used the video while speaking about the attacks across the LoC. India TV’s post on YouTube had over 2,359,677 views.
The video has gone viral, with multiple Twitter users sharing on the platform, calling it footage of India’s air strike on terror camps across the LoC.
It was also shared on Facebook by a handle called The Earth News.
Some Pakistani Twitter users called it Pakistan’s retaliation and their quick response to India’s attempted air strike.
TRUE OR FALSE?
On searching for the video with similar keywords as the previous video, we came across the original video on YouTube. The video is called ‘Flares at night Paf F-16’ and also shows a fighter jet flying across the night sky, issuing flares. From 0:30 onwards, it is possible to see that this is the video being used by multiple media outlets and being shared as footage of the air strikes.
What is interesting is that this video was uploaded Bin Ghulam on 9 September 2017, which renders it impossible for the video to be footage of the air strikes.
It is obvious then that the video is question does not show the air strikes on the night of 25 February and has been used out of context to suit the narrative of either side.
Another video went viral on Twitter on 26 February after the news of the air strikes was reported.
In this video, which also went viral, a fighter jet can be seen in the sky amidst darkness. Many shared this video on the social media platform as actual footage of the airstrikes carried out by India’s Mirage 2000s across the LoC.
The video was also uploaded on YouTube as ‘IAF Mirage 2000 jets in Pakistan Bombing Mission’.
While the video was used for the Indian narrative, it was also shared by Twitter users in Pakistan, who claimed that it was footage of the Pakistani Air Force fighter planes scrambling after India’s jets entered their air space.
Journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra also tweeted a reply to the video asking why the Pakistani fighter was flying so close to the ground and issuing flares. He also explained in his tweet that the reason could have been in order to avoid air to air missiles, adding that this would be ‘clear indication’ that there had been some air to air action.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The video went viral, with people accepting it as actual footage of what had happened on the night of 25 February. However, people started questioning the authenticity of the video clip, with someone even pointing out on khalid_pk’s tweet that the video was not from Muzaffarabad but Islamabad. Others asked why the jets were issuing flares.
Many others expressed their doubts and said the video was old. One person replied on the thread, saying this was a three-year-old video from Islamabad. One even claimed that the plane in the video was an F16 fighter jet.
Picking up from this chatter, The Quint ran a search for similar videos, using the keywords F16 fighter planes in Islamabad, flying at night and flares. This threw up a result of a video uploaded by a certain Muhammad Zohaib on 23 September 2016.
It claims that it is a video of the Pakistan Air Force flying over Islamabad at night. Now, this also happens to be the same video that is circulating, making it evident that the claims were fake news from both sides.
Soon after the Indian government confirmed the attack across LoC, another video started doing rounds on social media, claiming to be "actual footage" of the attack by the Indian Air Force.
The viral video shows a compartment getting destroyed by two missiles launched by an unseen fighter jet. The video further shows the fighter jet targeting people around the compartment with bullets.
TRUE OR FALSE?
This video is fake and has nothing do with the attack in Balakot.
After breaking up the video into key frames, followed by a Google reverse image search, it was revealed that the clip of the viral video is taken from a four-year old video available on YouTube.
The YouTube video titled ‘Really Short Engagement (ft. Taliban) - Apache Gunner FLIR Cam #6’, is a clip extracted from a video game – Arma 2.
The viral clip can be seen from 20 seconds into the video.
The photos are two separate screenshots taken at the same time into the viral and original clip.
The first photo from the viral clip bears the resemblance of the surroundings seen in the second photo.
Moreover, the viral clip shows the time of the attack at 1721 hours, however, as reported by ANI, the attack by the IAF was carried out at 0330 hours.
(This was first debunked by BOOM.)