London -  A fake news story has touched off a tense Twitter confrontation between nuclear power Pakistan and Israel, which is widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal of its own, reported Daily Mail on Sunday, quoting an American news agency.

In an apparent response to a story claiming Israel’s former defence minister threatened a nuclear attack against Pakistan if it sends troops to Syria, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif reminded Israel that “Pakistan is a nuclear state too”.

Israel’s Defence Ministry tweeted back Saturday, saying the original story on the site AWD News was “totally fictitious.”

Israel maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying the existence of an arsenal. Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998. The countries have no diplomatic ties.

The episode underlines the potentially harmful impact of fake news stories in sensitive global affairs.