Fact Check

Did Israeli Soldiers Stage the Capture of a Hamas Fighter Seen in Fox News Footage?

Pro-Palestinian accounts on social media shared footage of a Fox News clip they claimed showed the Israeli army's deception.

Published Nov 24, 2023

Updated Nov 27, 2023
 (Screenshot via Twitter)
Image Via Screenshot via Twitter
An October 2023 clip by Fox News showed a staged scene in which an actor played a Hamas militant being captured by Israeli army soldiers.

The footage used in the video clip is authentic — that is, it was not the result of digital manipulation and it indeed aired on Fox News — but additional footage posted by reputable news outlets demonstrates that the sequence of events in the clip is out of order, hence the encounter it purported to depict was misrepresented.

The protracted, often bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict exploded into a hot war on Oct. 7, 2023, when the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel and Israel retaliated by bombarding the Gaza Strip. More than 20,000 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians, were reportedly killed during the first two months of the war alone. The violence is driven by mutual hostilities and territorial ambitions dating back more than a century. The internet has become an unofficial front in that war and is rife with misinformation, which Snopes is dedicated to countering with facts and context. You can help. Read the latest fact checks. Submit questionable claims. Become a Snopes Member to support our work. We welcome your participation and feedback.

In late November 2023, video footage that originally aired on Fox News allegedly showing the capture and stripping of a Hamas fighter by Israeli military forces faced accusations by numerous pro-Palestinian voices on social media that it was "staged."

As presented by these social media accounts, the footage shows Fox News reporter Trey Yingst following Israeli soldiers as they fire weapons and appear to capture a man — someone who, according to Fox News, was a Hamas fighter. Taken in the days following the Hamas attack on Israel’s Tribe of Nova music festival on Oct. 7, 2023, the video shows Israeli soldiers escorting the man after blindfolding him and stripping him of his clothing. At the very end of the clip comes a still shot in which the soldiers can be seen gesturing in the direction of the camera, appearing to tell the journalists to move away, while the man puts on his pants back on.

One post on X claimed, “A Fox Channel reporter caught Israeli soldiers "arresting" a supposed Palestinian terrorist, even stripping him. The camera cut when the guy stood up on his own and put his clothes back on – turns out it was staged.”

It was to that moment (when the man appeared to put on his pants) that proponents of the claim that the footage was "staged" pointed. According to their theory, the recorded footage wasn't a real depiction of events — rather, it employed actors, soldiers, journalists and heavily edited footage, they claim, to try to mislead audiences into thinking the Israel army efficiently captured a Hamas fighter when they had not.

While the in-question video is authentic — that is, it was not the result of digital editing and it indeed aired on Fox News — there is no evidence that the encounter was staged. We reached out to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Fox News for more information about the incident and the man. We requested unedited footage of the incident captured by Fox News, which directed us to an Instagram post by Yingst, showing raw footage of the man taking his clothes off just before being taken into custody. We found that multiple news outlets covered the same incident with the same man, showing that he was not putting his clothes on after being apprehended as the above post claims, but was made to strip, blindfolded by the soldiers, and taken away. As such we rate the claim that the video was staged as False.

We also asked the IDF for more information about the man, and the reasoning behind him getting dressed again. We will update if and when we learn more.

Snopes accessed the footage aired by Fox News via archived clips and Mediaite. After Fox News broadcasted it on Oct. 12, 2023, the clip was shown by Sky News Australia.

However, the footage that aired on Fox News (and other media outlets after that) had been edited and cut. Without access to the same footage unedited, there was no way to independently confirm that such an interaction was or was not staged. In the Fox News footage, the moment with the pants appeared to occur after the man was blindfolded and being led away, hence the confusion.

In the original clips, before introducing the footage in question on Fox News, Yingst said, “We saw where authorities were collecting burned body parts underneath a bus. Also in the distance you could see where campsites were set up, and as we were walking through this area, it was very clear something went terribly wrong, and I want you to take a look.”

The footage then shows Yingst running toward the chaos. “We just heard a gunshot and they’re yelling at people to get out of the area [...] You can see these soldiers — Get down, get down! Lay down flat! Lay down. Lay down totally flat,” he says to his camera crew as they all lie on the ground and while gunshots can be heard in the background.

The footage cuts to soldiers running, Yingst describing the two gunshots, and an Israeli soldier telling Yingst, “Go back right now.” The footage cuts to the soldiers leading a blindfolded man stripped down to his underwear, then cuts to Yingst before cutting to a brief clip of the man with his pants down to his feet.

“Very tense right now as the soldiers appear to be arresting a Palestinian man. They have him in handcuffs right now, and they’ve blindfolded him, and they are taking him away. You can see here, they’re leading him away. They’ve blindfolded this man, and it appears they have captured yet another militant who entered from the Gaza Strip, and it gives you a sense of how unpredictable all of this is. They don’t know where people are hiding. And they could still be in the tree lines here near to the Gaza border,”  Yingst said.

He also said he spoke to an Israeli military commander who claimed the captured man was a Palestinian militant who either crossed the border from Gaza or had been hiding in the area since the Oct. 7 attack on the Tribe of Nova music festival.

Yingst later wrote on Instagram in a post with raw footage of the event, "There’s a post about our reporting circulating online regarding this clip from October 12th, claiming the man is a crisis actor. Here’s the entire raw video. You can see the man who was arrested take his clothes off, before he is taken into custody. The truth is important."

Sky News' coverage from a different angle showed the man taking off the same pants before getting on the ground. Sky News reported, "Once he is undressed, he is forced to the floor, blindfolded, and his hands bound." The man is then led away. CBS News footage showed the same man in an earlier part of the encounter taking his white T-shirt off.


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Nov. 27, 2023: The story rating was amended from "Unproven" to "False" after we received more information from Fox News.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.