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Video does not show Iran launching missiles at US bases in Iraq

January 8, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows Iran sending rockets to the U.S. Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq early Wednesday morning.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video clip has been circulating online since at least 2014. 

THE FACTS: Twitter users are circulating a 7-second video clip of multiple missiles being fired, claiming the footage shows Iran launching an attack that struck a U.S. airbase in Iraq on Wednesday.

Iranian state TV first reported that Iran had struck the Ain al-Asad air base, a base in Iraq’s Anbar province housing U.S. troops, early on Wednesday. Iran launched the attack in response to an airstrike ordered last week by President Donald Trump that killed Iran’s top general. 

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U.S. officials later confirmed the Anbar attack, as well as a second Iranian missile strike on a base also housing U.S. troops in Irbil, Iraq.

Twitter users began circulating the misrepresented video, which shows dozens of projections being fired from the ground in daylight, soon after Iran launched the attack. 

“#BREAKING: Iran sends rockets to US airbase in Al Asad” one Twitter user wrote. 

The clip is part of a video that has been circulated by Russian media since at least 2014. The 4-minute video compilation shows the Russian military launching test missiles during planned training drills. It has been watched more than 7 million times on YouTube since it was posted in May 2014. 

VineSight, a tech company that monitors for misinformation online, first surfaced the misused video to The Associated Press. 

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536