Start the day smarter ☀️ How often do women giving birth at individual hospitals experience heart attacks, seizures, kidney failure, blood transfusions or other potentially deadly problems? Notable deaths in 2023 Human trafficking laws

False claim that Doctors Without Borders medic helped terrorists | Fact check

The claim: Video shows a Doctors Without Borders medic aiding terrorists

A Nov. 9 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows a man in an orange vest running across a street to an injured person lying on the ground. The vest-clad man then takes a rifle from the injured person and brings it to another man, who takes it and begins shooting.

“In this video taken today in Jenin, a medic from ‘Doctors Without Borders’ went to a terrorist who was shot by the IDF, lifted him up and took his weapon then brought it to another terrorist,” the post’s caption reads in part. “Basically he abused his position as a medic, which the IDF cannot shoot, to break the law and assist terrorists to get a weapon.” 

The post was liked more than 8,000 times in nearly three weeks.

More from the USA TODAY Fact-Check Team:

Fact check roundup: Israel-Hamas war sparks many misleading claims online. Here's what's true and false.

Our rating: False

The medic was not a member of Doctors Without Borders, according to a Doctors Without Borders spokesperson and the original poster of the video. The medic was wearing the vest of another medical organization.

Vest belongs to a Palestinian medical group, not Doctors Without Borders

The medic’s orange vest has a yellow circle on the back with the letters "PMRS" below it, with black and silver stripes on the bottom. These markers are associated with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. Other medics from the group have been photographed in white or orange vests with the same symbols. 

Brienne Prusak, a spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders (also known by its French name, Médecins Sans Frontières), told USA TODAY the person in the video was not wearing a vest associated with the organization.

“The person depicted in the video is clearly not wearing an MSF logo or any other identification related to MSF,” Prusak wrote in an email to USA TODAY. “MSF staff do not wear orange vests seen in the video. Our staff around the world are required to wear MSF identification – T-shirt, gear – because it is one of the main protections that we have: our medical identity and credibility.” 

Doctors Without Borders medics typically wear white shirts or vests with red logos. Prusak also said the organization's medics in Jenin, a city in the West Bank, don’t treat people in outside areas. 

“In Jenin, MSF supports the emergency room of the Ministry of Health Hospital and supports the pre-hospital emergency," Prusak said. "Our MSF staff in Jenin do not carry out ambulatory services.” 

Fact check: Police provided security, did not evacuate Jewish students at UC San Diego

A 2020 YouTube video shows the same shops on a street in Jenin and confirms the location, the Associated Press reported.

Obada Tahayna, a freelance journalist based in Jenin who recorded the video in question, told USA TODAY he witnessed the medic going to help the injured person lying on the ground at first. Versions of this video with Tahayna's watermark have circulated online since at least Nov. 9, as noted by Lead Stories.

"The occupation opened fire on the paramedic and this led to his confusion," Tahayna said via messaging app WhatsApp. "The paramedic tried to remove the weapon from the place, which is his legal right to remove danger, but he was also exposed to gunfire from the occupation, and this increased his confusion and he fell to the ground and the weapon fell from his hand and someone took it."

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

AFP, the Associated Press and PolitiFact also debunked this claim.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or e-newspaper here.

USA TODAY is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network, which requires a demonstrated commitment to nonpartisanship, fairness and transparency. Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Meta.

Featured Weekly Ad