A video showing an empty car blowing up, followed by people huddling up at the site of the blast and playing dead, is going viral.
What is the claim?: Those sharing have written that Palestinians staged the car explosion and then pretended to be 'injured.'
Is it true?: This claim is false. The video was shot in 2016 and reportedly shows an operation of Iraq's intelligence unit, Falcon Intelligence Cell which had infiltrated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
How did we find out?: We divided the viral video into several keyframes and ran a Google reverse image search on some.
We came across a news report by the Daily Mail UK that published a story on 27 August 2018. It contained a similar image as a frame in the viral video.
We compared the two and found similarities.
According to the NYT story titled "The Iraqi Spy Who Infiltrated ISIS", the operation was carried out by one Captain Harith al-Sudani of Iraq's intelligence unit, the Falcons Intelligence Cell went undercover and 'infiltrated' the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
His role in ISIS was to carry and detonate bombs; however, he would alert the Falcons, who would take the explosives and disable them.
Further, they would stage fake explosions, deaths and press releases to keep Sudani's cover intact.
Bellingcat's investigation, first published on 4 November 2016, also found that a car bomb went off in the Al-Hurriyah district of Baghdad on 30 October 2016. This is the same blast is seen in the viral video.
Their investigation showed that the "bomb blast" was bought by the international press and even ISIS-associated news outlet Amaq.
Bellingcat also geolocated the site of the blast to Baghdad.
Conclusion: The viral claim is false. Although the act in the video is staged, it dates back to 2016 and reportedly shows an undercover operation of Iraq's Falcon Intelligence Cell.
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