Iran's Fars news agency claimed early on Wednesday that 15 missiles had destroyed 20 "sensitive" American "targets" in the Iranian missile attack in Iraq. Iranian social media users immediately began mocking the report by a news agency the opposition calls "False News" and Fars had to amend its report to justify incongruities.
In an apparently orchestrated move, several semi-official news agencies including Fars News Agency, Tasnim News and IRIB News Agency -- the state-run broadcaster's news agency -- simultaneously published a report on the American casualties of the attack after six hours.
The agencies quoted "an informed source in the Intelligence Organization of the Revolutionary Guards" as saying that according to "accurate reports" from sources in the region, 20 sensitive targets in [Al-Asad] airbase were hit by the 15 missiles fired at it and a considerable number of drones and choppers were destroyed."
The reports also claimed that "at least 80 American servicemen were killed and about 200 were injured [in the attack]" adding that choppers immediately evacuated the wounded from the base.
"Divine assistance" means to hit 20 targets with 15 missiles, not hurt a fly, and the regime to claim 80 [American] casualties", a social media user joked while another posted a child's drawing of missiles on Twitter attributing it to the "informed source in Revolutionary Guards" who claimed 15 missiles had destroyed 20 targets.
Referring to the popular game called Angry Birds @shamed64 who has introduced himself as a former blogger said in a tweet: "The missiles must have been of 'Angry Birds" type. They actually failed to destroy enough targets. They could have destroyed 60 if the right angle had been chosen. God willing, we will compensate for that in the next round".
Another Twitter user asked: "Does the informed source know math? How could they blow up 20 spots with 15 missiles? Did the missiles reproduce on the way or pollinate? For God's sakes, where are we living?"
The agencies had to amend their reports after the jokes started circulating on social media to justify the numbers. Tasnim said the missiles were aimed so precisely and were so strong that some of them destroyed several sensitive targets simultaneously. None of the agencies mentioned possible Iraqi casualties.
Tasnim News and Fars news agency are both affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards. The latter is often referred to as False News Agency by the Iranian opposition for its long record of falsifying news, misquotation, lies, and even being fooled by an outlandish Onion report, plagiarizing it and publishing it as its own.
In September 2012 The Onion, an American satirical digital media website, published a report that claimed a Gallup poll had found out that rural Americans preferred the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over President Barack Obama. Fars, a diehard Ahmadinejad media outlet at the time, published it as its own.