Khawaja Asif reacts to an invented story and threatens to retaliate in kind to an Israeli nuclear strike — but Israel says the news is fake.

Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has been widely mocked for his blunder.
Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has been widely mocked for his blunder.

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."

Israel's Ministry of Defence clarified the issue on Twitter.

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?"

Source: AFP