British general not killed fighting in Gaza

25 January 2024
What was claimed

British General Alexander Emmanuel, leader of the “Claw” battalion participating in the Gaza war has been killed.

Our verdict

This isn’t true. The man pictured with the post is Corporal John Horn, photographed in 2008 in Germany. British troops have not been deployed to Gaza.

Claims that a British general named “Alexander Emmanuel” has been killed fighting in Gaza have been circulating on Facebook.

One Facebook post says: “Karma. Major shock in London and Tel Aviv.

“British General Alexander Emmanuel, leader of the ‘Claw’ battalion participating in the Gaza war, is killed. Alexander was a hero of the Iraq war and a member of the battalion that captured President Saddam Hussein.”

The posts, which have also been shared on X (formerly Twitter), include a photo of a male soldier wearing a beret and combat fatigues. 

But the man pictured is Corporal John Horn, not “General Alexander Emmanuel”, and British troops are not engaged in fighting in Gaza. 

A reverse image search of the image brings up a copy of the full, original image on Alamy, a photography agency.

The caption of the photo states: “Corporal John Horn, an operator on a challenger tank from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, with Fiance Laura Mcgee at the Wessex Barracks in Bad Fallingbostel, Germany, after returning from Iraq.”

Additional details with the photo say it was taken on 12 December 2008.

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British Armed Forces in Gaza

There is no evidence any members of the British Armed Forces are engaged in fighting on the ground as part of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict. 

Responding to a question in the House of Commons from the Labour MP John McDonnell on 5 December about possible future deployment of British troops in Gaza, Israel or the West Bank, Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps said there “simply is not going to be a deployment.”

On 2 December the UK Ministry of Defence announced it would begin conducting surveillance flights over the Eastern Mediterranean, including operating in air space over Israel and Gaza.

These unmanned aircraft will be tasked to locate hostages, including British nationals, taken by Hamas during the attack on Israel on 7 October.

In October 2023, following the attack, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that Royal Air Force surveillance aircraft would begin patrols in the region, and a Royal Navy task group would be moved to the eastern Mediterranean to support humanitarian efforts.

In conjunction with the United States the UK has also been conducting air strikes against sites in Yemen following attacks on international shipping vessels in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebel group.

At least two British nationals fighting in the military have been killed during combat in the region since 7 October, but they were serving in the Israel Defence Forces, not the British Army. 

It is important to have good information from trusted sources about which states are involved in fighting in wars or playing a role in global crises.

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

You can find more of our work countering false claims on the subject here, and  information on how to do this in our guides on spotting misleading images and videos

Image courtesy of U.S Army Europe

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