Two Facebook pages posted a series of photos on January 8 claiming to show American troops saying tearful goodbyes to their families before heading off to war with Iran. The images were shared thousands of times, but it turns out they do not have anything to do with the current crisis between Washington and Tehran.
The United States assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on January 3 with a drone strike on his convoy. On January 8, Iran responded by firing ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing American soldiers. The escalation in violence has led to the circulation of many fake images online. Facebook pages "Bigmouthmagazine" and "Scoop" both posted photos supposedly showing American soldiers saying tearful goodbyes before being deployed to fight against Iran. The photos were shared more than 6,000 times.
This photo shows Major Terri Gurrola sobbing as she hugs her daughter, Gaby. The photo was taken in September 2007 by a photographer for the Associated Press. Major Gurrola wrote about the image in an article published in the British daily newspaper The Guardian in October 2014. In the article, she explains how happy she was that her 3-year-old daughter Gaby hadn’t forgotten her during her year-long deployment to Iraq. We found this article by running the photo through a reverse image search on Google Images (click here to find out how).
This photograph, taken by photographer Marcus Yam in 2010, shows First Class Sergeant Brian Eisch, who left behind two young sons when he was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the US mission to combat terrorism and the Taliban. This photo was part of “The Homefront”, a multimedia project that was published on the The New York Times website in December 2010. A reverse image search shows the photograph is also on Yam’s personal website.
This photo, too, does not show a soldier deploying for a war against Iran. The man in the photo is Lieutenant Gibram Cruz, an Army intelligence officer based in Arizona, who was home visiting his mother, Rocio Rebolla Gomez, just days before she was slated for deportation to Mexico. Rebolla Gomez, who is undocumented, had lived in the United States for 32 years. The photo was published in the Los Angeles Times on December 23, 2019.
A reverse search of this photo on Google Images produces a series of images by the photographer Sharilyn Wells, published on the website of North Carolina Public Radio. The images show reunions between soldiers returning from war, and their families.
Wells, who is a veteran herself, took this photo in September 2012. The image, which shows a couple reuniting after the husband returned from his deployment, won first place in a contest for photos documenting military life, organised by the city of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
While none of the photos show soldiers leaving for Iran, the United States did announce that it would deploy an additional 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East in light of increased tensions between Washington and Tehran. France 24 reported that since January 6, several convoys have left for Iraq from Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Article by Hermann Boko