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Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif speaks to mjournalists outside the Supreme Court, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

A fake news story led to a threat of nuclear war in the Middle East


Last week, AWD News published an article claiming former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said he would "destroy" Pakistan if it sent troops into Syria.

Specifically, he would "destroy them with a nuclear attack."

The catch: AWD News is a known fake news site and peddler of conspiracy theories. But that didn't stop current Pakistani defense minister Khawaja Asif from responding as if it was real on Friday, CNN reports.

Here's his response, where he threatened nuclear retaliation.

Israel's official Ministry of Defense account responded, refuting AWD's story.

Asif responded on Christmas, clarifying the Pakistani nuclear program was merely a deterrent.

That was a close call

Despite the amicable ending, the incident showcases the sway fake news can hold, even abroad. In the U.S., this point was hammered home after a gunman appeared at Comet Ping Pong in D.C. to "self-investigate" a viral fake news story that a child sex cult was being run there. He told police he did not find any evidence.

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