Defence Minister Khawaja Asif directed a nuclear threat to Israel in response to a fake news report that quoted Israeli defence minister threatening to "destroy [Pakistan] with a nuclear attack."
The defence minister took to Twitter in a scathing post directed at Israel following the false report saying, “Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh," adding that “Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.”
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The fake story, titled “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops to Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack,” published on awdnews.com, even got the Israeli defence minister’s name wrong; attributing the statement to a former minister, Moshe Yaalon.
The typo-laden headline published on December 20 was not the first time a fake news article was posted on the website. Earlier, the website had published an article with the headline, “Clinton is staging a military coup against Trump.”
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The Israeli Defence Ministry responded on Twitter to clarify the report was false. “The statement attributed to fmr Def Min Yaalon re Pakistan was never said,” the ministry wrote in the post directed at Asif. In a second post it said, "Reports referred to by the Pakistani Def Min are entirely false.”
reports referred to by the Pakistani Def Min are entirely false— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) December 24, 2016
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Asif has not yet responded to the Israelis however, his post has been retweeted more than 400 times; many mocking him for his mistake.
The fake news phenomenon has sent major internet companies scrambling to respond amid claims that bogus reports that proliferated ahead of the US presidential election may have skewed the result.
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Last month, an internet rumour had the makings of a bizarrely sordid scandal involving a top political aide to Hillary Clinton, allegations of pedophilia and a restaurant in an upscale part of Washington.
Facebook has said it will introduce tools to prevent fake news stories from spreading on its platform.