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CLAIM ID

7091540d

A UFO was seen just before the 2020 Beirut explosion.

A flying bird was mistaken for a UFO in a poor quality video of the 2020 Beirut blast. No credible source reported such a sighting.

Context: On August 4, 2020, the city of Beirut witnessed a massive explosion. According to media reports, the blast happened in a warehouse at the port of Beirut. The New York Times reported that the warehouse stored thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive compound that spilled from torn bags. According to BBC News, a fire triggered the detonation of the unsafely stored ammonium nitrate. The blast took more than 190 lives, injured 6,000, and caused billions of dollars of damage. Since the explosion, many social media posts have spread conspiracy theories and misinformation. A recent Facebook post claimed that a UFO was spotted just before the blast. The post had a video showing a small black object in the air, moving towards a tall building in front of a huge cloud of smoke. The video slows down, zooms in on a tiny unclear object, and zooms out when the explosion occurs behind the tall building. The caption of the post reads, "There's more to the official story than what we have been told by mainstream media! UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) spotted seconds before the Beirut Explosions." In Fact: The explosion was documented by many credible media outlets from different angles, and none of them reported or captured an image of a UFO. We found several versions of the same video on different platforms through a reverse image search. We went through many of them, and most were of poor quality. However, one better quality video posted on Twitter on August 5, 2020, is not zoomed in. The audio appears to be original, with locals exclaiming in the background, and the video is not slowed down. The flying object is a bit more clear in this video, and it seems to be a bird flapping its wings, flying in the direction of the tall building. Space.com, a satellite imaging website, took photos of Beirut a day after the blast. The port is seen to be destroyed. The article featured images of the port during the day of the explosion, and there was no unidentified object in sight. The New York Times did a thorough investigation of the explosion and did not report any UFOs. Also, BBC News published videos from first-hand eyewitnesses, and there was no reference to a UFO. Verdict: The origin of the video in the social media post is not known. However, it has been shared across many platforms several times. The flying object seen in the video is likely a bird. The poor quality versions of the videos have led to unproven conspiracy theories about the blast.

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