The IDF Spokesperson on Saturday posted on its Twitter account a supposed image of some of the 100,000 missiles Hezbollah has aimed at Israeli cities – but there's a problem or two with it. The missiles shown are not to be found in Lebanon, or even in Syria, and only one of them could remotely be said to illustrate any threat posed against Israel.
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The photo, which appears to be from AFP/Getty Images, was used on an IDF Spokesperson tweet marking 14 years since the army withdrew from Lebanon. "#Israel troops left #Lebanon 14yrs ago. Now #Hezbollah terrorists have rearmed, w/100,000 missiles pointed at #Israel," it read. However, the tweet did not mention that the photo is illustrative only.
In a blog post by Zeatu Barbarosa that was picked up by the pseudonymous Israeli blogger Eishton, it was noted that the photo was not particularly suited to the text of the tweet, as it bears no connection to Hezbollah. Indeed, according to the photo caption published by the French news agency AFP, the missiles depicted are mounted on a Korean War memorial in Seoul.
"With all due respect to the fears of Israeli society and the home front's preparedness or lack of preparedness for war, please frighten us with the truth and not with illustrations, and if the truth isn't frightening or genuinely threatening, then please leave us in peace," reads Barbarosa's blog.
Yet the IDF Spokesperson's digital editors were not the first to use this photo. It or others like it illustrated many articles on the Web and in print media in Israel and abroad on the subject of Scud missiles, because the word "Scud" appeared in the caption. However, most of the fearsome-looking weapons seen in the photo are U.S.-made anti-aircraft missiles used against fighter jets (part of the Israel Air Force's fleet) and Nike Hercules missiles.
The IDF Spokesperson told Haaretz, "This is strictly an illustrative photo which does not detract from the gravity of the threat posed by Hezbollah's armament in recent years. The purpose of the tweet is to emphasize to the international community the threat Israel faces."
The IDF Spokesperson did not respond to Haaretz's question of whether it has an agreement with a news agency allowing it to publish the photo. Getty Images said the IDF Spokesperson has such an agreement with AFP.