A video showing three men being arrested in Azerbaijan is viral online with the false claim that it shows high-ranking Israeli military officials being captured by Hamas. BOOM found that the claims are false and the video shows Azerbaijan's State Security Service arresting the men for operating illegal armed groups in the country as part of a separatist movement.
Over 700 people in Israel, and 400 people in the Gaza Strip have been reported dead so far, after Palestine-based militant group Hamas launched one of the biggest military offensives against Israel on October 7, 2023. Israel, in turn, responded with a barrage of air and ground-based military strikes and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a complete siege of Gaza, cutting off water, electricity, and food supply to the region, among other essentials.
While several Israeli civilians and soldiers have been captured by Hamas in Gaza, this video is not from the ongoing conflict.
Amid this, a 30-second video showing three men being arrested by individuals in military gear is viral online. A caption on X (formerly Twitter) reads, "LATEST: Several high-profile Israel i Generals captured by Hamas fighters."
The post is also viral on Facebook with similar captions.
Click here to view the post.
BOOM found that the video is not related to the Israel-Hamas conflict and shows leaders of a separatist group being arrested by officials in Azerbaijan.
We ran a reverse image search of some key visuals from the video on Google and found a news article from October 5, 2023 with the headline 'Azerbaijan's State Security Service shares details of detention of Karabakh separatists (VIDEO)'. The feature image used in the story was similar to the visuals in the viral video.
This news article led us to a YouTube video shared from Azerbaijan State Security Service's official channel on October 5. The title, translated from Azerbaijani, reads, 'Persons organizing the activities of illegal armed groups in Karabakh were arrested.' Visuals from the 2:28 mark of this video were a match to the viral video.
The description detailed how three individuals from the Nagorno Karabakh separatist group, Arkadi Ghukasyan, Bako Sahakyan, and Davit Ishkhanyan were arrested for illegally acquiring, storing, and supplying weapons and explosives among other ammunitions in the region. An official statement by Azerbaijan State News Agency can be seen here. The charges against them include acts of terrorism and creating illegal armed groups.
Nagorno Karabakh is a mountainous region located in the South Caucasus region, bordering Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is located in the international border within Azerbaijan, but has a predominantly Armenian population. In September this year, Azerbaijan occupied the conflict zone and announced full control over it, leading to more than 100,000 Armenians fleeing the region and being displaced. Amid this, reports detailing arrests of several former and current leaders of the separatist movement have also emerged. Authorities have also declared that the separatist region of Nagorno Karabakh will cease to exist from January 1, 2024.
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