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FactCheck: Does this image show an Iranian ballistic missile launch?

Iran launched missile attacks on military bases housing US troops last night – but was this one of the missiles?

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LAST NIGHT THE Iranian military launched rocket attacks on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq.

Both US and Iraqi officials have said there were no casualties, and it’s believed Iran gave prior warning of the attacks.

The attack was in retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleiman in an airstrike last week, which has sent tensions in the region soaring as fears of an all-out conflict between Iran and the United States grow.

Along with this, we’ve seen a number of misleading reports surfacing on social media – reports of several rocket attacks which later turned out to be false have been circulated, as well as inaccurate reports of death tolls.

We’re looking at one image being distributed in Ireland.


TheLiberal.ie shared an article about Iran’s attack on the military bases with an image which purported to show ‘this revenge operation’. 

The post was published last night shortly after reports of the attacks emerged. It was posted to the site’s Facebook page shortly before 1am.



The image actually shows a SpaceX launch from September 2013, a company owned by Elon Musk and one that been leading the development of next-generation space vehicles.

It is the Falcon 9 rocket launching a Canadian satellite into orbit.

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Also, to make things even more black and white: The attack took place overnight, not in broad daylight. News agency AFP tweeted at 11.19pm GMT last night that nine rockets had hit an Iraqi base – that’s around 3am local time in Iran.


The image is clearly not of an Iranian rocket launch. It is of a SpaceX launch.

Therefore, we rate this claim: FALSE.

As per our verdict guide, this means: The claim is inaccurate.

Contains reporting by Press Association

 TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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