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US military exercise footage misrepresented as Israel-bound forces

US military exercise footage misrepresented as Israel-bound forces - Featured image

Author(s): Bill MCCARTHY / AFP USA

A TikTok video viewed more than three million times purports to show American soldiers arriving in Israel to support its war with Hamas. This is false; the months-old footage captures US forces performing an amphibious landing exercise in Colombia, and the Pentagon has said no such mission is planned for Israel.

“USA today They send support to Israel,” says text over the November 7, 2023 post from @myus.hamed5, a TikTok user who has previously misrepresented visuals amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Screenshot from TikTok taken November 13, 2023

The video was reposted across TikTok and platforms such as Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter.

The posts come more than a month after Hamas fighters killed approximately 1,200 people and took around 240 hostages in Israel, according to the country’s latest figures.

Weeks of retaliatory air strikes and an Israeli ground invasion have killed more than 11,240 people in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

The United States has rushed military equipment to Israel, a top ally in the Middle East, while also bolstering its forces in the region and supporting hostage rescue efforts.

But the clip shared on TikTok is unrelated to the war in Gaza.

A reverse image search uncovered the same footage in a July 2023 YouTube video crediting it to the US Marine Corps (archived here).

The original video was published July 19, 2023 on the Pentagon’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website (archived here). The description says the clip shows American forces participating in an annual multinational military exercise in Colombia.

“US Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)s transport US Marine Corp Marines and equipment to Covenas, Colombia, July 19, 2023, during an amphibious landing exercise for UNITAS LXIV,” the caption says.

Major Jeremy Wheeler, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Forces Reserve, confirmed to AFP in a November 13 email that the footage featured in the TikTok video comes from the training exercise, which in 2023 included 20 partnered nations.

Defense Department officials have said since the start of the Israel-Hamas war that the agency has no plans to send American forces into combat on behalf of Israel, refuting misinformation on the topic.

“I am not aware of any Marine Corpse forces in, or scheduled for, Israel,” Wheeler told AFP.

AFP has previously debunked other misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war here.

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Originally published here.
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