A local newspaper’s April Fool chronicling a late-night visit by 10ft aliens sparked panic in a town in Jordan.
The Al Ghad newspaper published a front-page article claiming a UFO landing near the desert town of Jafr.
The report said the aliens lit up the whole town, interrupted communications and sent fearful residents streaming into the streets.
Jafr’s mayor, Mohammed Mleihan, was fooled by the paper’s prank and sent security authorities in search of the aliens.
“Students didn’t go to school, their parents were frightened and I almost evacuated the town’s 13,000 residents,” he said. “People were scared that aliens would attack them.”
A Jordanian security official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss security issues, said an emergency plan was almost enacted in Jafr.
Mleihan said he may sue the daily for its “big lie,” but added that the paper had called to apologise for the inconvenience caused by the joke.
Al Ghad’s managing editor, Moussa Barhoumeh, tried to defuse the situation, saying the report has been “blown out of proportion.”
“We meant to entertain, not scare people,” he said.
The prank was reminiscent of the 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds which provoked panic in America.