2017 video misrepresented as recent attack by Houthis on U.S. Navy destroyer

By: Umme Kulsum
October 30 2023

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2017 video misrepresented as recent attack by Houthis on U.S. Navy destroyer

Screenshots of viral posts (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

This video shows an attack by Houthis on a Saudi warship off the coast of Yemen in late January 2017.

Claim ID aea94274

What is the claim?

A video of an explosion on a warship at sea is being shared widely across social media. One X user who shared the video captioned it, "US Navy destroyer USS Carney allegedly attacked by drones in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen. This would be another step closer to WWIII." The post received more than 4,00,000 views and over 170 reposts at the time of writing this story. Archive versions of such posts can be found here and here.

The clip is also viral on Facebook and TikTok. Archive versions of such posts can be found here and here.

Screenshot of claims made online (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

The claim has gone viral days after a U.S. Navy warship intercepted three cruise missiles launched by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. However, this video is over six years old and does not show a U.S. Navy warship.

 What we found

A reverse image search of keyframes from the viral video led us to a BBC report from January 31, 2017. This report included a video that matched the visuals from the viral clip. The video was reportedly shared by a rebel-controlled al-Masira TV broadcast that showed an attack on a Saudi warship by Houthi rebels off the western coast of Yemen. According to a report by the Council of Foreign Relations, the Houthis are a rebel group based in Yemen, also known as Ansar Allah, who follow the Zaydii branch of Shia Islam. They have been involved in a protracted conflict with the Yemeni government and a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia since 2015.

Screenshot showing the video in news reports. (Source: BBC/Euronews/Screenshots)

This incident was widely reported at the time, and we found several news reports that had the same video. The attack resulted in an explosion that killed two crew members and injured three others, according to Reuters.

The attack was seen as part of the broader conflict between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition supporting the Yemeni government. 

U.S. support for Israel against Hamas

Israel and Hamas have been at war since Hamas conducted a surprise attack from the blockaded Gaza Strip on October 7. In response to the attacks, Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza. Thousands of people have died in the aftermath on both sides. 

Following this, the United States voiced support for Israel. On October 19, USS Carney, a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer, shot down three missiles that were fired by Houthi rebels in the northern Red Sea in an action to defend Israel in the current crisis. Those Houthi missiles were heading toward Israel. 

History of Houthis in Yemen

According to a report by BBC, tensions between Houthi rebels and Yemeni government forces reached a boiling point in 2014 when the Houthis occupied Yemen's capital, Sana’a. The conflict saw significant international involvement, and a Saudi-led coalition, with support from several Arab and Western countries, intervened in 2015 to restore the government. The conflict between the rebels and government forces is still underway in Yemen.

The verdict

The footage circulating on social media is an old video of Houthi rebels attacking a Saudi ship in January 2017, and does not show a  recent Houthi attack on a U.S. Navy warship. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before