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Egyptian TV anchor mistakes video game footage for Russian airstrikes in Syria

An Egyptian TV anchor mistakes video game footage for Russian airstrikes in Syria. (Video: Sada el Balad)
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Controversial Egyptian television anchor Ahmed Moussa is known to throw caution — and sometimes facts — to the wind. To the amusement of his many critics online, his latest on-air misstep was no exception.

During his most recent show, Moussa sang the praises of the Russian military, which began conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group in Syria this month. The only problem: The footage he presented proudly during his nightly broadcast on the Sada el Balad channel on Sunday wasn't footage of a Russian airstrike at all.

The video was posted on YouTube about five years ago, and it is most likely from a video game.

"Let me tell you [pause] about Russia," Moussa said in introducing the footage. "Russia does not play around. America was just playing, it wasn't trying to hit Daesh [the Islamic State]. If anything, they were patting Daesh on the back, funding and arming them.

"The Russians did it. Yes, this is the Russian army, this is Russian weaponry, this is [Vladimir] Putin. Yes, they are countering terrorism, truly countering it. Now you will see a terrifying video, terrifying."

[Air Force senior intelligence officer: Russia is using “dumb bombs” in its Syria airstrikes]

Terrifying indeed — but not for the reasons Moussa thought.

According to the website Egyptian Streets, the footage is from the video game Apache Air Assault, which was developed by Russia's Gaijin Entertainment and released in 2010.

Moussa seemed to think that the footage was clear proof of the Russian military's superiority over its U.S. counterparts.

[Despite signs of Russia’s Syria buildup, U.S. seemed to be caught flat-footed]

"Did you all see the precision?" he asked. "These are terrorists and militias and tanks, as you can see. These are Daesh fighters, and they have some weapons. And see there's this car, but in moments — gone."

Online, Moussa's blunder became a meme:

Moussa has had his share of trouble with the truth in the past.

Earlier this year, he was sentenced to two years in prison and fined about $2,553 by the Nasr City Misdemeanor Court in a libel case, according to the Daily News Egypt. Another court later overturned that sentence.

But it is just one of several instances in which legal action was taken against him over similar accusations.

Heba Habib in Cairo contributed to this report.