Footage from road accident in Riyadh falsely shared as assassination attempt on Saudi Crown Prince

By: Ankita Kulkarni
May 14 2024

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Footage from road accident in Riyadh falsely shared as assassination attempt on Saudi Crown Prince

Screenshot of a viral social media post claiming clip shows an assassination attempt on Saudi Arab Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral clip depicts two vehicles that caught fire in Riyadh in March 2024. Claims of an assassination attempt on the Saudi Prince are baseless.

Claim ID 6b79e6f6

What is the claim?

An 11-second clip showing numerous cars lined up on the road with two vehicles on fire is going viral on social media with the claim that it depicts a recent assassination attempt on Saudi Arab Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Riyadh. One such post on Facebook (archived here) shared the video with the caption, "Reports out of the Arab world tonight that there's been an assassination attempt against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and multiple security agents killed." Multiple users on X (formerly Twitter) have also shared this clip, and archived versions of such posts can be viewed here, here, and here.

Screenshots of some of the viral social media posts. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video does not show an assassination attempt on Mohammed Bin Salman.

What did we find?

A reverse image search of a screenshot from the viral clip led us to a longer version of the video, which was shared on X (archived here) on March 16. The extended video includes footage cross-posted from TikTok. The original TikTok video was shared by the account' Saudi M&m's,' and the Arabic text overlaid on the video roughly translates to "King Salman Road fire." The caption of the TikTok video reads, "A fire of tragedy that started without any reason."  

We looked for the original video on the TikTok user's profile (archived here), but the original video has presumably been deleted.

However, taking hints from the text overlaid on the video, we conducted more research, which led us to a post by The General Directorate of Saudi Civil Defense on X (archived here) dated March 16. The post featured an image of a firefighter using a water pipe on a burnt car. The post was captioned, "In Riyadh, a fire in two vehicles was extinguished following a traffic accident, and no injuries were reported (translated from Arabic)."

We then compared the viral footage with the image shared by Saudi Civil Defense and spotted the similarities between the windows and signboard of the building seen behind the car and the geographical area in the background in the two sets of visuals. This confirms that the viral footage is from the March incident in which two vehicles caught fire in Riyadh.

Comparison between the viral clip and the image shared by Saudi Civil Defense in March. ( Source: X/Screenshot)

Local media outlets like Saudi Arabia Web and Sabq online newspaper also reported on the incident, stating that an incident of fire was reported after a road accident. The reports quoted a post by Saudi Civil Defense, adding that the authorities have asked the public to adhere to safety instructions while driving to reduce traffic accidents. There was no reference to Mohammed Bin Salman in the reports.

Additionally, multiple journalists (archived here) in Saudi Arabia have also posted (archived here) a screenshot from the now-viral video and stated that the video is from a road accident and was captured two months ago, on March 16.

Furthermore, there are no news reports or statements from the Saudi Arabian government regarding an alleged assassination attempt on the Crown Prince, as claimed in the posts. Such an incident would have made international headlines. 

The verdict

The video of a road accident where two vehicles caught fire in Riyadh in March 2024 has been shared with the false claim as footage of an assassination attempt on Saudi Arab Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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