As Israel and Hamas fight, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza gets worse.

According to a press release from Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli army blew up many tunnels beneath the ground that were allegedly constructed and used by Hamas fighters on December 21, 2023. An Israeli military video of the blast soon gained popularity on social media, where viewers promptly downloaded screenshots of the footage to create graphics similar to the one featured above and in this article’s thumbnail. Frequently, the screenshots had captions that were difficult to confirm, such as claiming that the explosion was directed towards a mosque in Palestine Square or the nearby Palestine Stadium.

Using one of the photos as a starting point, a reverse image search on Google produced a ton of results, including stories on the explosion from Israeli newspapers like Haaretz and the Times of Israel.

But the Israeli military was the only source used for these pieces. The military has a stake in appearing strong and capable, so even though there is no reason to suspect that the photos or video were altered in any way, Snopes cannot say with certainty who caused the explosion or why it occurred until we hear from a second, ideally non-military source. 

In an effort to gather additional information about the explosion, Snopes reached out to a number of nonpartisan organizations. We will keep this story updated when we learn more.

By recognizing the collection of structures in the bottom left corner of the pictures and using a map of Sheikh Radwan Cemetery, Snopes was able to geo-locate the pictures and video.

Next, we were able to ascertain the direction from which the video was recorded by using Google Maps and the highways that were visible in the images.

We also recognized the Saad Sayel gym as the white-roofed structure located on the right border of the pictures. This verified that, in contrast to one of the social media headlines we came across, Palestine Stadium, which is situated across the street from the gym, was not affected by the explosion. 

We came to the conclusion that Palestine Square, which does feature a mosque, was the explosion’s focal point. That’s the same place as the Times of Israel reported.

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