Photo does not show U.S. soldiers praying before being deployed to Israel

By: John Faerseth
November 8 2023

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Photo does not show U.S. soldiers praying before being deployed to Israel

Source: Facebook (Screenshot modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The photo was published in 2017, and has no connection to the current conflict. There is currently no large U.S. miitary presence in Israel.

Claim ID 8e3cca6c


photo shared on Facebook on November 4 shows a large group of men in camouflage gear kneeling in prayer, with the caption, “American soldiers praying for their country, for Israel before being deployed to defend Israel. If you believe God answered their prayers say amen.”

The photo was posted in the Facebook group “Friends of Israel Global Movement,” a Christian group dedicated to supporting Israel.

However, the photo is at least six years old and unrelated to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. 

In fact

A reverse image search showed that an identical photo of praying soldiers was posted on Facebook in October 2017, with the caption “Powerful image of U. S. Soldiers praying together after a Chapel service in Fort Benning, Georgia. #RealMenPray”. It is, therefore, not connected to the current Israel-Hamas conflict, as it predates it by six years, and was taken in the U.S.

On the morning of October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a series of attacks on Israel, killing at least 1,400 people. Israel answered with a series of air strikes on the Gaza Strip, which, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry, has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians. 

Following the attack, the United States significantly strengthened its military presence in the Middle East due to concerns that the war between Israel and Hamas could trigger a wider regional conflict. It has moved around 1,200 U.S. service members and three naval strike groups to the region, including the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

On October 15, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered 2,000 U.S. troops to prepare for a potential deployment to the Middle East. The selected troops are currently stationed in several locations, including the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. The order does not mean the troops will necessarily be deployed there, and according to the Wall Street Journal, it is not clear under what circumstances they may actually be sent to the Middle East. 

U.S. defense officials quoted by the same outlet say the troops are not intended to serve in a combat role if they are sent to the Middle East, but will support Israel with tasks like advising and medical support. 

The U.S. has also set up a small cell of special operations forces in Israel that has been working with Israel in providing intelligence and planning but does not participate in any missions. There are currently no other U.S. military forces on the ground in Israel.

The verdict 

The photo was published in 2017 and has no connection to the current conflict. Besides a small cell of special operations forces, there are currently no U.S. military forces present in Israel. We have therefore rated this as false. 

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