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Fact check: Israeli PM did not claim responsibility for Beirut explosion

Social media users have shared a screenshot of an Instagram post with text stating that the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel was responsible for the explosion in Beirut. This claim is false. Netanyahu has not made any such statement and an Israeli official has said that Israel was not involved.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

On Tuesday August 4, at least 135 people were killed and 5,000 injured in a massive warehouse explosion at Beirut port, Lebanon (here).

The posts, shared hundreds of times (here , here , here), show a screenshot of a post from an Instagram account called “keepamerica.usa”, which says “BREAKING: PM Netanyahu of Israel has just confirmed the drone strike In [sic] Beirut, Lebanon as their own in another Attack [sic] against the vicious terrorist organization Hezbollah.” The text is accompanied by a picture showing the aftermath of Tuesday’s explosion.

The original post (here), which has over 180,000 views, has since been updated and now reads “UPDATE: Israel has just confirmed alongside with Lebanese officials they had nothing to do with these attacks.”

Reuters earlier reported that an Israeli official said, “Israel has nothing to do with the incident” and Israel’s Foreign Minister told Israeli N12 television news that the explosion was most likely an accident caused by a fire (here).

An Israeli Prime Ministerial announcement dated August 4 states that Prime Minister Netanyahu approved humanitarian and medical assistance to Lebanon, and instructed the head of Israel’s National Security Council to speak to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in order to clarify how Israel could further assist Lebanon (here).

VERDICT

False. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not claim that the explosion in Beirut was due to an Israeli drone attack. Israeli officials have said Israel had nothing to do with the incident.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .

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