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Khawaja Asif Pakistan Israel Nuclear Syria
Reuterss/Faisal Mahmood
What? He didn’t say that?

Fooled by fake news, Pakistan defence minister reminds Israel of Islamabad’s nuclear weapons

Devjyot Ghoshal
By Devjyot Ghoshal

India Editor

Fake news has claimed another victim—and even prompted a bit of sabre-rattling by the defence minister of a nuclear-armed nation.

On Dec. 23, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s defence minister, unexpectedly sent a terse reminder to Israel about Islamabad’s nuclear capabilities:

The warning isn’t exactly unlike Asif—who, earlier this year, reportedly threatened to nuke India—but the defence minister’s most recent nuclear shenanigans were apparently provoked by a fake news report.

On Dec. 20, AWD News (—a fake news outlet that fact-checking website Snopes describes “as a site that peddles hoaxes and conspiracy theories”—reported that Moshe Ya’alon, a former Israeli defence minister, “threatened to ‘destroy’ Pakistan-after Pakistan said on Thursday it will send Sunni fighters to Syria.”

The story was headlined: “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops into Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack.” Provoked by the AWD News’s typo-riddled report (it even misspelt Ya’alon’s name), Asif hit back on Twitter.

Thankfully, a swift fact-checking was provided by Israel’s defence ministry that directly tweeted a clarification to the Pakistani minister:

Arif, though, is seemingly undeterred. On Christmas Day, he posted another, possibly-related tweet:

And the original nuclear threat still remains on his Twitter timeline, with over 3,000 re-tweets.

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