Fake news story prompts Pakistan to make nuclear threat against Israel

A fake news story prompted Pakistan to threaten another nation with nuclear weapons on Friday, reports the New York Times.

The country's defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, noted in a tweet, "Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh. Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too..."

As it turns out the tweet followed a fake piece by awdnews.com. Its headline read, "Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops into Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack."

RELATED: See declassified photos of US prepping for nuke attack

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Declassified photos show US prep for nuclear attacks (BI)
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Declassified photos show US prep for nuclear attacks (BI)

Soldiers check the casings on the "Fat Man" atomic bomb. Multiple test bombs were created on Tinian Island. All were roughly identical to an operational bomb, even though they lacked the necessary equipment to detonate.

(Photo via National Archives)

(Photo via National Archives)

A technician applies sealant and putty to the crevices of "Fat Man," a final preparation to make sure the environment inside the bomb would be stable enough to sustain a full impact once the bomb was detonated.

(Photo via National Archives)

Soldiers and workers sign their names and other messages on the nose of "Fat Man."

(Photo via National Archives)

Here's a closer look.

(Photo via National Archives)

"Fat Man" is loaded onto a transport trailer and given a final once-over.

(Photo via National Archives)

The bomb is then escorted to the nearby North Field airbase on Tinian, shrouded in tarp.

(Photo via National Archives)

At the airfield, "Fat Man" is lined up over a pit specifically constructed for it, from which it is then loaded into the plane that dropped it over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

(Photo via National Archives)

Both pits for "Little Boy" and "Fat Man," each roughly 8 feet by 12 feet, still exist today on the island and now serve as a memorial.

(Photo via National Archives)

The bomb and its trailer are lowered down into the pit using a hydraulic lift.

(Photo via National Archives)

Workers check "Little Boy" one last time, keeping the tarp on for security reasons. They used a similar lowering procedure for "Fat Man" three days later.

(Photo via National Archives)

Once "Little Boy" is ready, the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, is reversed and positioned over the trench.

(Photo via National Archives)

The tarp is removed and the bomb is readied for loading.

(Photo via National Archives)

Using the hydraulic lift, "Little Boy" is carefully raised and loaded into the belly of the Enola Gay.

(Photo via National Archives)

Once inside the plane, the bomb is secured and all connections and equipment are checked again.

(Photo via National Archives)

From there, both "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" were flown over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, and detonated. World War II ended shortly afterwards, but at a cost: an estimated 250,000 people were killed or injured in the attacks, most of them civilians.

(Photos via AP)

Video of the preparation and loading also exists.

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The story had numerous errors including the wrong name for the current Israeli defense minister.

On Saturday, Israel clarified via a tweet that the story was "entirely false."

However, the New York Times reports, "Mr. Asif did not respond to the Israelis on Twitter, and as of Saturday his message had been reposted nearly 400 times. Many of the people reacting to Mr. Asif on Twitter mocked him for his mistake."

Amid the rapid rise of fake news on social media, many prominent political and business leaders have called for an immediate need to address the dissemination of false information.

President Obama recently commented on the issue during a press conference, "If we are not serious about facts and what's true and what's not, if we can't discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems."

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