Old video of a drone caught in power lines falsely linked to Iran attack

Social media posts appeared to mock Iran over a video purportedly showing one of its drones targeted for Israel caught up in a power line in Iraq. The footage has in fact circulated online since at least February 2024 -- two months before Tehran's unprecedented attack on Israel -- in reports which said it was filmed in Syria.

"An Iranian drone targeted for Israel crashed and caught in electrical wires in Iraq," read a Facebook post shared on April 14, 2024.

The Burmese-language post featured a laughing emoji -- apparently poking fun at Iran for the purported gaffe.

The video, which garnered more than 3,300 views, shows a drone stuck in overhead power lines. A man heard off-camera says in Arabic: "Here it is, it's stuck in the cables".

<span>Screenshot of a Facebook post sharing the false claim, taken on April 16, 2024</span>
Screenshot of a Facebook post sharing the false claim, taken on April 16, 2024

The video spread in similiar posts on Facebook and X, formerly Twitter, in English, Chinese, Thai and Burmese.

The posts surfaced following Iran's unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel on April 13, 2024.

Tehran launched more than 300 projectiles in retaliation for an air strike -- widely blamed on Israel -- that levelled the Iranian consulate in Damascus and killed seven Revolutionary Guards on April 1.

Israel said it intercepted 99 percent of the drones and missiles fired at it, with the aid of the United States and other allies and that those which got through caused only minor damage.

Following the assault, fragments from Iranian missiles were reportedly found in neighbouring Iraq (archived link).

Old footage

Reverse image searches found a screenshot from the video of the drone stuck in power lines published in February -- two months before Iran's attack.

Al Jazeera Syria posted the image on February 21 in a Facebook post that said it was filmed in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province (archived link).

Local media outlets posted the video on the same day here and here, also reporting that it was filmed in Hasakeh (archived links here and here).

AFP was not able to independently confirm the location of the footage.

However, pro-Iran armed factions have launched a series of drone strikes and rocket attacks against US and allied troops deployed in the Middle East since mid-October 2023.

The majority of attacks have been claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups angered by US support for Israel in its war in Gaza.

AFP has fact-checked a wave of photos and videos falsely shared as Iran's attack.