Old South Korean Photo Misrepresented as US Weapons in Israel

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Social media users are circulating a photo of stacked bombs, claiming they show weapons the US sent to Israel during the Gaza war. However, the photo was actually taken ten years ago at a military base in South Korea.

Photo: Raskrinkavanje.ba

On December 31, 2023, a photo depicting bombs was shared on Facebook, accompanied by a caption implying they were American weapons delivered to Israel, described as “the fourth batch of American aid to Palestinian children.”

What Are the Facts?

The claim that the photo of the bombs shows weapons the United States supplied to Israel during the Gaza war has gone viral earlier and was debunked by The Quint World, India Today and AFP in their December 2023 publications (123).

According to AFP, an Axios analysis from November 2023 outlines that the US has provided Israel with over 70,000 pieces of weapons and equipment from 1950 to 2022. This extensive inventory includes military aircraft, machinery, rockets, and bombs, excluding items like personal firearms, bulletproof vests, or hand grenades. Axios further reported that in 2023 alone, the US dispatched at least 16 different types of weapons to Israel, though the official figures remain undisclosed.

The Pentagon informed AFP in December 2023 that since October 2023, it has supplied Israel with various types of weapons and medical aid. Amnesty International reported on December 5, 2023, that there was evidence of Israel using Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) weapons, manufactured in the USA, in airstrikes on Gaza. There’s no evidence, however, of the US ever sending any weapons directly to Gaza. The US did play a role in negotiations that facilitated the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and has advocated for ongoing efforts to deliver aid to its inhabitants.

Thus, while the US has been providing Israel with a wide range of weapons and assistance, the bomb photo circulated on Facebook is not connected to the situation in Israel or the conflict in Gaza. Instead, it was taken at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. A reverse image search reveals that the photo is listed on Alamy and the official Kunsan Air Base website, with both sources indicating it was captured on October 23, 2014.

The description accompanying the photo states

More than 80 Blu-109 and Mark-84 bombs sit on display at the Wolf Pack Munitions Storage Area, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, following a successful emergency destruction of munitions simulation, Oct. 23, 2014. Wolf Pack Airmen completed hands-on emergency destruction of munitions training in conjunction with Exercise Beverly Midnight 15-1.

Raskrinkavanje has previously debunked viral photos and videos incorrectly alleged to depict events related to the war in Gaza (123).

Accordingly, we assess the initial post claiming the photo depicts bombs sent to Israel by the United States as fake news. We also classify all subsequent publications echoing these claims as the dissemination of fake news.

(Author: Irna Halilović, Raskrinkavanje.ba)