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Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde January 9, 2020

False image of missile strike on U.S. troops shared by Iran outlet

An Iranian news agency tweeted a photo claiming it showed U.S. planes on fire this week after Iran launched missile strikes. The photo in the tweet and linked story, however, is from November, involves Israeli strikes, and doesn’t show U.S. planes on fire.

Islamic Republic News Agency, which calls itself the official news agency of Iran, on Jan. 7 tweeted the image and text that said: "US planes in fire after #Iran's missile attack: Source #IranvsUSA #Solemani #IranAttacks #AinAssad."

The photo in the tweet also appeared in the linked news story. But the photo actually shows the impact of a Nov. 15, 2019, Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip. BBC in November used that photo in a news story and credited it to the AFP.

Getty Images’ caption for the photo in part says: "A ball of fire is seen following an Israel airstrike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip early on November 15, 2019." Getty credits the image to Abed Rahim Khatib/AFP.

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Some Twitter users replied to the news agency’s tweet, questioning why it was recycling the old image and noting that it was from November. Other Twitter users more broadly claimed that "Iran’s online operatives" were re-using old pictures.

This is not the only case of old images being repurposed and falsely labeled as showing the most recent air strikes against U.S. military. Our reporting found that additional images and videos of older missile strikes by Iran and Israel were also shared widely on Facebook, falsely identified as being from this week’s Iranian strikes.

The Islamic Republic News Agency shared an image on Twitter giving the inaccurate impression that it showed U.S. planes on fire after Iranian strikes this week.

We rate the claim False.

Our Sources

Twitter, tweet by Islamic Republic News Agency @IrnaEnglish, Jan. 7, 2020

Getty Images, photo caption for image of Nov. 15, 2019 Israeli air strike

Islamic Republic News Agency, US planes in fire after Iran's missile attack: Source, dated Jan. 8, 2020

Tweets about "Iranian online operatives" sharing older photos of strikes, Jan. 7, 2020, Israel-Gaza ceasefire strained by rockets and air strikes, Nov. 15, 2019

PolitiFact, Old photos of Iran, Israel missile strikes recycled for attack on US bases, Jan. 8, 2020; Facebook users share out-of-context photos after Iran strike on US bases, Jan. 8, 2020

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More by Miriam Valverde

False image of missile strike on U.S. troops shared by Iran outlet

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