Pakistan's defence minister issued a statement saying he will retaliate in kind to any Israeli nuclear strike following a fake news article threatening the country if it sent fighters to Syria.
Khawaja Asif was responding to the story published on the AWDNews website and headlined, "Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops into Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack."
Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh.Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too AH
— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) 23 Aralık 2016
Israel’s Ministry of Defence clarified the issue on Twitter.
@KhawajaMAsif The statement attributed to fmr Def Min Yaalon re Pakistan was never said
— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) December 24, 2016
Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity about its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence, but is widely believed to be a nuclear power.
Pakistan, which conducted its first nuclear test in 1998, is believed to have around 120 nuclear weapons. The country has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
A growing number of fake articles are now widely shared on social media.
Earlier this month a rifle-wielding man entered a pizza restaurant in Washington, saying he wanted to investigate a fake news story that the establishment was a centre for child abduction linked to failed US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Last week Google said it was working to refine its algorithm to weed out "non-authoritative" information after a British news report showed a Holocaust denial website was the top result when users asked "Did the Holocaust happen?"