A disinformation campaign that also uses images generated with AI

The supposed victory of Hamas against US and Israeli soldiers with images from a video game

The war launched by Hamas terrorists against Israel on October 7 is not only being fought in the Middle East, but also online.

Yemen's alleged attack on an Israeli frigate, a country whose Navy does not have frigates
Russia's influence on Hamas' attack on Israel and its use against Ukraine and Europe

Psychological operations (PsyOps) have been an important part of wars for many years, and are fought without a single bullet being fired. These operations are intended to demoralize the enemy and reduce their combat capacity. But beyond the battlefield, these operations also seek to undermine the morale of the civilian population of the enemy country and its allies, not only resorting to propaganda, but also to deception, a tool that continues being very effective.

However, the effectiveness of a psychological warfare operation depends largely on its credibility, and in the case of the Hamas terrorists and their propagandists, that credibility is destroyed by spread totally implausible stories. Last week we saw a clear example of the ridiculous stories that are spread by Hamas propagandists: claimed that Yemen had seriously damaged a frigate of Israel, a country that does not have frigates, and They did it using a video from the RIMPAC 2022 exercise, which showed an old American frigate serving as a naval target.

A story about US Marines and Israeli soldiers that appeared in October

There is another misinformation campaign underway for a month and a half. At the end of October, Hamas propagandists began spreading a ridiculous story in English through Twitter and Tiktok. That story (it can be read here in a tweet from a verified Twitter account posted on October 31) said the following:

"Preliminary reports from Israeli sources: The battle in Beit Hanoun in which the army and U.S. Marine Corps (Delta) conducted a major tank and infantry attack. The battle resulted in significant losses, with 43 soldiers captured, incl 26 U.S. Marines and 17 Israeli soldiers. Moreover, 67 soldiers from the U.S. Marines and Israeli army were killed."

It is a completely invented story. Beit Hanun is a city located in the northeast of the Gaza Strip, with 32,000 inhabitants. The battle for that city began on October 27, with the Harel Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces fighting against the Al-Qasam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terrorists, They use networks of tunnels to hide. The fighting in that area continues and Hamas has been spreading hoaxes for weeks about what is happening there, claiming responsibility for the deaths of soldiers and the destruction of military vehicles of the Israel Defense Forces without providing any evidence. Israeli forces are destroying Hamas' tunnel network in that area.

As of today, there is not a single piece of evidence or indication that there are American soldiers in Gaza, nor is there any evidence that there are American marines captured by Hamas. But also, the story has clear signs of having been invented by someone who is unaware of these issues, since the Delta force is not from the Marines, but from the US Army, and is not used in military operations. infantry, since it is a special operations group.

They spread an image generated with AI to give more veracity to the hoax

Despite these obvious falsehoods, that hoax carries weeks spreading through Twitter. Those who spread the hoax do not even update the supposed numbers of Americans and Israelis killed and captured. the story began to appear accompanied by this image on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube:

It may look like a photo, but in reality it is an image generated by artificial intelligence, as indicated by the usual aberrations of this type of images (poorly made feet, a missing arm, a deformed hand, etc.) .

The greatest success of this hoax has come with a Twitter account in Spanish

So far, the greatest spread that this hoax has had has occurred in the last few hours with a tweet in Spanish published by a pro-Russian Twitter account, which repeats the same invented casualty figures from the end of October, but this time stating that Israeli and US forces would have suffered a "defeat" in Beit Hanoun. The hoax has been seasoned with the following ending:

"The Al-Qassam Brigades inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Zionist enemy which they allowed to advance a distance of two kilometers, but the heroes came out behind them and annihilated them."

Use images from a video game as if they were real

The most ridiculous thing about all this is that this hoax has been spread with this video, which has also been spreading in English through other accounts for days:

These are not real images of combat: they are images from a video game, Arma 3, to which some headlines have been added in the style of certain media so that they look like images taken from a television channel, as we see in this screenshot:

It is significant to note, by the way, that the same Twitter accounts that have dedicated themselves to spreading pro-Russian hoaxes about Ukraine now launch hoaxes in favor of Hamas, something not strange considering good relations between the Kremlin and that Palestinian terrorist group.


Main photo: Israel Defense Forces. Israeli soldiers in a file photo released in 2017.

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