US general not killed in ‘Israeli-American operation’ in Gaza

15 February 2024
What was claimed

A picture shows General Havery Skidder, from the Delta Force joint Israeli-American operation, who has been killed following a Hamas ambush in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip.

Our verdict

This isn’t true. The soldier in the image is US Special Forces officer Ryan Brummond, pictured while serving in Afghanistan. He is now a paediatrician in the United States.

Posts circulating on social media include an image of a soldier with false claims he is a US general killed fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The claim has been shared on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) in recent days. One caption says: “URGENT: News shakes Tel_Aviv and Washington. Death of American Special Task Force “Delta Force” General Havery Skidder and a group from his unit in a joint “Israeli-American” operation caught in a Hamas ambush in Khan Yunis. Skidder was renowned for his skillful leadership in special units with a distinguished record in Afghanistan and Iraq. [sic]”

The post includes an image of an armed soldier in combat fatigues wearing a helmet and sunglasses.

However, the photo does not feature “General Havery Skidder” as claimed in the posts. And US troops are not engaged in fighting in Gaza.

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Who is pictured?

A reverse image search of the picture brings up an AP article from August 2021, where the same photo was included in a gallery as part of the article headlined: “US friends try to rescue brother in arms in Afghanistan”.

The caption with the image identifies the soldier as US Special Forces officer Ryan Brummond, seen in Afghanistan.

Another image of the Special Forces officer sat between two police officers in Afghanistan, which also appears in the AP gallery, features in an interview with Mr Brummond on Fox News in August 2021. 

Generals in the US army can be identified by their insignia, wearing four stars on their epaulettes, or on the front of their uniform.

The AP article states that as of publication in 2021, Ryan Brummond was in his fourth year of medical school in North Carolina. 

He is included in a gallery of current paediatric residents at the Medical College of Georgia, where he is listed as a doctor of medicine.

Is there an ‘Israeli-American’ operation in Gaza?

There are no US troops currently engaged in fighting on the ground in the Israel-Gaza conflict. 

Last November, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said there were “no plans or intentions to put U.S. military troops on the ground in Gaza, now or in the future”.

However, US Special Operations forces were reported as being dispatched to Israel in October 2023 to help locate hostages and prepared to evacuate US citizens and secure embassies—but were not assigned to any combat roles.

A report from the Intercept claimed that an Air Force personnel memo described military orders to be on “standby” to deploy troops in the case of an on-ground US involvement, days after the 7 October attack by Hamas. 

NBC reported in October that around 2,000 US troops had been put on prepare-to-deploy orders, which would likely be to a ‘nearby country’ to support Israel.

We’ve seen misinformation relating to the Israel-Gaza conflict appear in many different forms, including fake subtitles, altered official documents and misleading videos

Full Fact has written about other viral posts that falsely identify individuals, including photos supposedly showing British and IDF generals killed in Gaza. You can read more of our work relating to recent events in the Middle East, and our guides on spotting misleading images and videos

Image courtesy of U.S. Air National Guard

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