Fact Check: 'Palestinian Terrorists' Did NOT Carry Out Five Attacks in France, Belgium and Germany


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Fact Check: 'Palestinian Terrorists' Did NOT Carry Out Five Attacks in France, Belgium and Germany ISIL ≠ Hamas

Did "Palestinian terrorists" carry out five attacks that killed hundreds of people in France, Belgium and Germany? No, that's not true: The perpetrators were of Arab origin but were not Palestinians. All have been linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an Islamic extremist group that is not the same as Hamas, the Palestinian political party that launched military strikes against Israel in October 2023.

The claim appeared in a Hungarian-language video (archived here) on TikTok on October 12, 2023, under the title (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories staff) "Palestinian terrorists have committed horrible things in Europe and will continue to do so." The text (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

Before you start feeling sorry for Palestinian terrorists. Don't forget these 🔞➡️➡️➡️
November 13, 2015. FRANCE: They committed a coordinated terrorist attack at seven places in Paris, at restaurants, a concert hall, and near the national stadium
March 22, 2016. BELGIUM: They carried out a double explosion
July 24, 2016. GERMANY: The Islamic State committed a suicide bombing for the first time on German soil, in the Bavarian city of Ansbach
July 14, 2016. FRANCE: In Nice
December 19, 2016. GERMANY: Berlin
tik tok does not allow [users] to write about concrete victims
Israel alone can respond to their actions

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Oct 16 04:29:53 2023 UTC)

There were no known Palestinians among the perpetrators of the five incidents listed in the video.

ISIL claimed responsibility for the string of attacks carried out by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris on November 13, 2015, at locations including the Stade de France athletic stadium and the Bataclan theater. The man accused of plotting the bloodbath, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was a Belgian citizen of Moroccan origin. None of the other 10 men implicated in the crimes -- Salah Abdeslam, Mohamed Abrini, Bilal Hadfi, Chakib Akrouh, Brahim Abdeslam, Omar Ismail Mostefai, Samy Amimour, Foued Mohamed-Aggad and two men who went by the pseudonyms Ahmad al-Mohammed and al Mahmod -- are known to hold Palestinian passports or have Palestinian roots, according to media reports.

Hamas was one of several Islamic organizations to condemn the bloodshed.

Abrini and Salah Abdeslam, the only two perpetrators to survive the Paris carnage and its aftermath, went on to orchestrate the twin attacks at Brussels' main airport and a metro station in the city center on March 22, 2016, according to the verdict handed down by a Belgian court on July 25, 2023. None of the other four men convicted in relation to the crime -- Osama Krayem, Oussama Atar, Ali El Haddad Asufi and Bilal El Makhoukhi -- are Palestinians. According to The New York Times, ISIL said it was behind the assault.

The man who blew himself up near a music festival in Ansbach, Germany, on July 24, 2016, Mohammad Daleel, was a Syrian asylum seeker who had pledged loyalty to ISIL, The New York Times reported.

The Islamic radical accused of plowing a truck into a crowd of people in Nice, France, on July 14, 2016, was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian. A French court convicted eight co-conspirators on December 13, 2022, none of whom were Palestinians, according to the BBC. ISIL claimed responsibility for this deadly episode as well, the BBC reported.

Finally, Anis Amri, whom German police say drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market on December 19, 2016, was "a Tunisian national inspired by ISIL propaganda," according to the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation.

While both ISIL and Hamas are Islamic organizations that pursue their objectives using violent means, they are not one and the same, according to Scott Kleinmann, a researcher of radical movements at King's College London. He told The Times of Israel in an article published on August 27, 2014:

Hamas's short-term strategy is to gain power by co-opting existing western political structures in furtherance of its ultimate objective. This political pragmatism required Hamas's participation in elections and the relatively secular administration of Gaza. Conversely, [ISIL] is uncompromising in its Salafi-jihadi ideology ... Their strategy stems from the belief that the only way to eternal salvation is to follow Quran and the examples of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions -- waging war to establish the Caliphate and implementing strict sharia law is necessary to fulfill this divine duty. Any deviation from this path is an affront to the sovereignty of God over man.

ISIL would consider Hamas' participation in elections and its use of secular law to be "polytheistic innovations worthy of hellfire," Kleinmann added.

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