A fake Isis attack in an Iranian mall is the latest example of extreme YouTube pranks, a trend driven by American teens

It sounds like another terrifying story of insurgent terrorism in the Middle East: on Tuesday, men dressed in the black garb of the Islamic State stormed through a mall in Iran, brandishing swords and guns, shouting “Allahu Akbar”. Shoppers reportedly fled the scene in fear.

It was reminiscent of the 2017 Tehran Isis attacks in which 17 people were killed. Except that the mall “attack” was actually a Punk’d style prank. The weapons were fake, and the presumed terrorists were actually actors. The whole incident was a piece of viral marketing for a film called Damascus Time about an Iranian father and son who are kidnapped by Isis. Some shoppers worked out what was going in and filmed the stunt on camera phones, but others can be heard screaming in terror.

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