Israel embassy pulls ‘inappropriate’ video imagining Hamas attack on Seoul

South Korea objected to footage posted by Israeli embassy depicting hypothetical abduction of a mother in Seoul.

A South Korean woman holds an Israeli flag
A South Korean woman holds an Israeli flag during a rally in central Seoul in October 2023 [Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

The Israeli embassy in South Korea has deleted a video it produced showing an imaginary attack on Seoul by masked assailants it seemed to liken to Hamas, after concerns raised by the South Korean government.

The video, which was posted on the Israeli embassy’s social media channels on Tuesday, was deleted on Wednesday, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs confirmed to the AFP news agency on Thursday that it asked the Israeli embassy to take it down.

“The killing and kidnapping of Israeli civilians by Hamas cannot be justified, but the Israeli Embassy’s production and distribution of a video drawing parallels to the security situation in another country was deemed inappropriate,” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We have conveyed our position to the Israeli Embassy in South Korea, and the Israeli side has taken measures to delete the video in question.”

Sanad, Al Jazeera’s fact-checking agency, verified the existence of the video, which has since been pulled down.

Describing the clip, Yonhap said the footage showed a South Korean woman in the capital on Christmas Day watching her daughter sing carols at a school talent show when her mobile phone issues an air raid warning.

Sounds of gunfire and explosions are heard through the city. The woman – covered in blood – is then abducted by an armed assailant, and forcibly separated from her daughter, it described.

The footage is accompanied by details of Hamas’s attack on southern Israel on October 7 and subtitles that read: “Imagine if it happened to you. What would you do?”

Israel has repeatedly vowed to keep up its campaign to destroy the Palestinian armed group in retaliation for the attack, which killed 1,139 people, according to a revised tally by Israeli authorities.

Hamas also kidnapped about 240 people, and Israel says 129 captives are still being held in Gaza.

Israel has since relentlessly bombarded the besieged Gaza Strip, killing more than 21,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children and destroying thousands of buildings including hospitals and schools, creating a dire humanitarian crisis.

The Israeli embassy said its video was to help South Koreans understand how Israelis feel.

“We have reconstructed the horrifying terrorist incident that took place on October 7th to help South Koreans in East Asia, far away from Israel, understand the current war situation,” Israel’s ambassador in Seoul Akiva Tor said in a now-deleted social media post, South Korean broadcaster YTN reported.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies