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HomeFact CheckNewsVideo Claiming To Show Attack On Masood Azhar Is From November 2023...

Video Claiming To Show Attack On Masood Azhar Is From November 2023 Attack On Cops In Pakistan’s Dera Ismail Khan

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Ruby leads editorial, operations and initiatives at Newschecker. In her former avatar at New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s leading national news network, she was a news anchor, supervising producer and senior output editor. Her over a decade-long career encompasses ground-breaking reportage from conflict zones and reporting on terror incidents, election campaigns, and gender issues. Ruby is an Emmy-nominated producer and has handled both local and international assignments, including the coverage of Arab Spring in 2011, the US Presidential elections in 2016, and ground reportage on the Kashmir issue since 2009.

Claim: Wanted terrorist Masood Azhar killed in an explosion in Bhawalpur while returning from the mosque.

Fact: The viral video shows an explosion that took place in Dera Ismail Khan on November 3, 2023. The image that is going viral claiming to show Masood Azhar actually shows Pakistani religious scholar Maulana Muhammad Amin who was injured in an attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and there is no evidence to link him to JeM. 

Several social media handles, on January 1, 2023, claimed that JeM chief and one of India’s most wanted terrorists, Masood Azhar, was killed in an explosion in Bhawalpur while returning from the mosque. Those making the claim shared a video of an explosion to support their claim. 

Many news outlets also reported on the same, with the rider that the claim and the video were viral online. You can read them here

Video Claiming To Show Attack On Masood Azhar Is From November 2023 Attack On Cops In Pakistan’s Dera Ismail Khan

Newschecker also received this claim on our WhatsApp tipline (+91 9999499044) requesting it to be fact checked. 

Also read: Edited Image Falsely Claiming Dua Lipa Sexually Harassed In Jodhpur Goes Viral

Fact check/Verification

Newschecker began by examining the video and the images that are going viral. The tweets and the reports claim that the incident took place early morning at 5am when Masood Azhar was returning from the mosque. But the viral video shows broad daylight, and a massive crowd that is not likely for 5am in the morning. 

Newschecker then conducted a reverse image search on the viral video which took us to an X post by a handle called @OSINTUpdates, which revealed that the incident took place on November 3, in Dera Ismail Khan.

We conducted a keyword search on twitter and found more evidence of the  same incident, with similar details. 

Archive post

A keyword search on Google under the corresponding date also took us more reports on the same. According to a report by Chinese media Xinhua, “At least five people were killed and 22 others injured when a blast went off near a police vehicle in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” The vehicle was passing by a busy market when the explosion occurred in the Ponda Bazar area of Dera Ismail Khan district of the province, the report quoted the Deputy Commissioner of Dera Ismail Khan as saying. 

Another report on Pakistan based Geo News titled, “Six killed in blast targeting police van in DI Khan,” reads, “The blast took place in Tank Adda in the city near a police van, injuring 22 people who are being shifted to a nearby hospital. Some of the injured are in critical condition.”

We also found the same video in YouTube, published by handle PakistanPress88 on November 3,  2023, which identified it as the CCTV footage of the explosion that took place in Dera Ismail Khan.

This confirms that the video claiming to show the explosion in Bhawalpur, that allegedly killed wanted terrorist Masood Azhar, is actually from Dera Ismail Khan and from November, which targeted the police. 

We then looked at the image that is going viral, claiming to show an injured Masood Azhar. A reverse image search of the viral image took us to an X post by handle @khorasandiary, which revealed that the man in the image was religious scholar, Maulana Muhammad Amin, who was critically injured in a raid by unknown assailants in Barkambakhel area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Archive post

We looked for details on Maulana Muhammad Amin, but found no credible media reports on him. However, we did find a post on X but handle @TimesAlgebraIND, that claimed that he was related to Masood Azhar. 

We found a report by Pakistan based Soch Fact check who clarified that there was no evidence to link to JeM. “Soch Fact Check extensively reviewed recent coverage of such an issue on mainstream news websites in Pakistan and India but did not find any reliable accounts reporting that Amin was a recruiter and leader of JeM. We also searched for names of the JeM leadership in the Mapping Militants database maintained by the Freeman Spogli Institute for Stanford and did not find Maulana Muhammad Amin mentioned as a leader or recruiter of the JeM. This blog, published by the London School of Economics, covers the recent re-emergence of JeM activities and does not highlight anyone named Maulana Mohammed Amin as a leader or recruiter,” the report by Soch fact check read.

However, we were unable to confirm if Masood Azhar has indeed been injured or killed in any attack recently. 

Conclusion

Newschecker’s research reveals that the viral video claiming to show JeM chief Masood Azhar being attacked in an explosion by unknown men is actually from November 3, 2023. The image that is going viral claiming to show Masood Azhar actually shows Pakistani religious scholar Maulana Muhammad Amin who was injured in an attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and there is no evidence to link him to JeM. 

Result: False

Our Sources
Social media post on X, by @OSINTUpdates, dated November 3, 2023
Social media post on X, by @Aliwazirna50, dated November 3, 2023
Report by Xinhua, published on November 3, 2023
Report by Geo News, published on November 3, 2023
YouTube video posted by handle @PakistanPress88, dated November 3, 2023
Social media post on X, by @khorasandiary, dated December 27, 2023
Social media post on X, by @TimesAlgebraIND, dated December 28, 2023
Fact check published by Pakistan based Soch Fact check, dated December 30, 2023


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Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Ruby leads editorial, operations and initiatives at Newschecker. In her former avatar at New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s leading national news network, she was a news anchor, supervising producer and senior output editor. Her over a decade-long career encompasses ground-breaking reportage from conflict zones and reporting on terror incidents, election campaigns, and gender issues. Ruby is an Emmy-nominated producer and has handled both local and international assignments, including the coverage of Arab Spring in 2011, the US Presidential elections in 2016, and ground reportage on the Kashmir issue since 2009.

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