The Islamic State group (IS) is being mocked online after claims it faked footage of battles in its propaganda videos, and even used the soft drink Vimto as fake blood.
The claims were contained in a video featuring an alleged IS defector, and came from a rival jihadi group which is vying for influence in Yemen. The video begins with the defector describing how he was asked to attack mosques by IS commanders. But the section of the video that really captured the imagination of Twitter users outlines alleged IS trickery in filming fake battle scenes which the group falsely claimed as genuine military victories.
The defector describes how he was enlisted to fake fights and raids in front of the camera. In some scenes, he says, IS fighters pretended to be dead Houthi rebels and were daubed with fake blood in the form of the soft drink Vimto.
While it’s almost impossible to verify the defector’s claims, the video has prompted widespread jokes on Twitter by rival jihadists and other IS opponents, including the hashtag “Vimto Caliphate” in Arabic. One image being shared depicts IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani as a Vimto delivery man: “Now I know why Vimto has disappared from shops in Yemen!” read another Tweet.
Vimto (for the uninitiated) is a spiced fruit-flavoured drink which originated in the north of England but is also hugely popular in the Middle East, where it’s often drunk during the holy month of Ramadan. Diluted versions of the drink have a purplish hue, but the concentrated cordial version that is commonly sold in the Arab world has a much darker red tone.
The video was released by Hidayah Media – a group associated with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP and IS are just two of the rival factions fighting in Yemen’s brutal civil war. Since its launch in early January, Hidayah Media has been using its videos, which feature a series of IS defectors, to try to undermine the Yemeni branch of Islamic State.