As the war between Israel and Hamas rages on, social media users are claiming an image shows an American military general named "Thomas Hurley" who allegedly died in Gaza. But a US Army spokesman said there is no record of a general with that name, and the picture -- taken by AFP in Iraq in 2005 -- actually shows now-retired General George Casey, who confirmed this.
"Hezbollah released information about the death of American General Thomas Hurley in the tank holocaust that happened to Israeli forces in Gaza," says a November 14, 2023 post on X, formerly Twitter. "General Hurley is the US Department of Defense's chief expert on guerrilla warfare at the Institute for Military Strategic Studies."
The United States rushed military equipment to Israel, a top ally in the Middle East, after Hamas fighters stormed across the border in a bloody October 7 attack, killing approximately 1,200 people and taking around 240 hostages, according to Israel's latest estimates.
But Defense Department officials have said since the start of the war that the department has no plans to send American forces into combat on behalf of Israel, whose air strikes and ground invasion have killed more than 11,500 people in Gaza, according to the Palestinian territory's Hamas-run health ministry.
And there is no evidence an American general named Thomas Hurley has died in the fighting, as the rumors spreading online allege.
A reverse image search revealed the image in the posts is an AFP photo showing retired General George Casey, then the top US commander in Iraq, in 2005.
The original photo shows "Casey" written across his helmet.
"That's me and my aide right behind me," Casey, who later became the army's chief of staff, told AFP in a November 17 email. Casey retired in 2011 as a four-star general after 41 years in the military, and he has since held academic positions and served on corporate boards.
AFP found no credible news reports related to an army general named Thomas Hurley dying in Gaza.
Sergeant Pablo Saez, an army spokesman, told AFP the only army general he could find by that name was a brigadier general in the force's medical corps who was born in 1890 and died in 1963.
"The 'American General Thomas Hurley' mentioned in the post does not exist," Saez said in a November 17 email.
AFP also reached out to the Pentagon for additional comment, but no response was forthcoming.
AFP has previously debunked other misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war here.