Fake News: Iranian Press Agency Claims Image Of Israel Strike On Gaza Shows Iranian Strike on US Airbase

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fake News: Iranian Press Agency Claims Image Of Israel Strike On Gaza Shows Iranian Strike on US Airbase

As news of the retaliatory airstrikes from Iran on Iraq's Ain Assad Air Base spread around the world the evening of January 7, 2020, fake stories and falsely attributed photos also began to surface on social media. One photo from 2019 has been put forward by many sources, including the Islamic Republic News Agency, claiming to show the actual attacks from January 7, 2020. But they are misleading in that they actually show old photos unrelated to the most recent strike.

The below story and caption feature a misleading photo supposedly showing U.S. planes ablaze after the Iranian strikes.

The above image shows the flames from Israeli missiles that struck in Gaza on November 14, 2019.
At the time, the BBC reported:

Israel has launched fresh air strikes on militant targets after renewed rocket-fire from Gaza, as a day-old ceasefire is put under strain.

Palestinian media said missiles hit sites belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group early on Friday, injuring two people.

It comes after five rockets were fired at Israel on Thursday following the ceasefire declaration by the PIJ.

In a time of strikes and counter-strikes, these images serve as a reminder to readers to slow down and verify the information they encounter before passing it on. Some legitimate journalists and experts are even being targeted with disinformation by fake-news purveyors who seek to use the credibility of others to spread false claims.


  • 2020-01-10T16:14:36Z 2020-01-10T16:14:36Z
    Update 1/10/2020: This article has been edited to remove mention of two tweets and the person who made them. They deleted the tweets when they realized that they had been misled by early reporting from the IRNA on the night of January 7, 2020.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Southeastern Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


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