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Israeli military-run racist social media account exposed

Israeli military-run racist social media account exposed

Photo: Arab News 

London: Following an investigation, the Israeli daily Haaretz revealed the existence of a controversial Telegram account that shared graphic images of Hamas fighters being killed and the Gaza Strip being destroyed. The account is purportedly associated with the Israeli military.

The account, "72 Virgins — Uncensored," alleges to be run by the Israel Defence Forces' Influencing Department, which is in charge of psychological warfare.

More than 700 posts on the account, according to the outlet report, feature unsettling photos and videos with comments that celebrate murder and convey animosity towards Hamas and the Palestinian people, Arab News reported.

A senior military source who wished to remain anonymous acknowledged that the army runs the channel and voiced concerns regarding its content, saying that some of the posts on the account are affiliated with far-right figures and do not correspond with the IDF's mission.

“The messages there are problematic. It doesn’t look like an awareness campaign of an army like the IDF, but more like talking points for (far-right rapper) The Shadow, and the fact that soldiers operate such a problematic page is egregious,” the unnamed official is reported as saying.

The channel was formed on October 9, two days after the fighting started, according to confirmation from Haaretz.

With promises of featuring "exclusive content from the Gaza Strip," the channel releases a daily summary every night that includes multiple IDF updates on the situation in Gaza.

“As always, we’re the first to bring you the information from the field,” it said. “We have crazy recordings of terrorists, how can we put it, swimming with the fishes. We have documentation no one else has. We promise much more!!!”

One video, which was uploaded on October 14, featured an Israeli vehicle running over a Hamas militant's body. It had provocative comments and urged viewers to share and repost the image.

“Very good, Gershon!!! Run him over, run him over!!!! Screw the baxxxxxs! Flatten them,” the accompanying post said.

Another post from October 11 featured a disturbing description and teased an upcoming video featuring members of La Familia, the viciously racist fan group of the Beitar Jerusalem football team.

The video showed the group raging outside the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Hashomer, close to Tel Aviv, after it was rumoured that fighters from Hamas, who had allegedly invaded Israel, were receiving treatment there.

The IDF denied that it operates the channel with a spokesperson stating: “If there was any connection by soldiers or other parties connected to the IDF with the page or its operation, this was done without approval and without authority.”

The IDF has used psychological warfare techniques over the years to try to weaken enemy narratives and influence public opinion.

According to Haaretz, the IDF had been involved in similar operations.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit ran a misleading campaign in 2021 with the intention of increasing public awareness of IDF attacks. They shared pictures of destruction in the Gaza Strip on social media by creating fake profiles.

Once the operation was exposed, representatives from the spokesperson's unit acknowledged that they had "erred."

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TAGS:Israeli militaryPsychological warfare
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