Media outlets wrongly claimed old video shows airstrikes in Yemen

24 January 2024
What was claimed

A video shows the recent US and UK airstrikes against targets in Yemen.

Our verdict

This is not true. The video pre-dates these events, and shows an explosion at a ‘gas station’ in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, in September 2023.

Multiple media organisations have shared a video supposedly showing US and UK airstrikes in Yemen in January 2024. But the footage actually pre-dates these events. 

The video, which shows an explosion in the distance and a truck in the foreground, appeared in reports on the airstrikes published by the Guardian, Telegraph, MailOnline, Sky and ITV. Stills taken from the clip were also published by the Times, Mirror and Daily Express.

A number of outlets, including the Guardian, Daily Express, Mirror, MailOnline and ITV, have removed the clip after Full Fact got in touch. 

The US and UK launched airstrikes against targets in Yemen on 11 January in response to attacks on ships in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebel group, which controls large parts of Yemen. 

The video has also been shared on social media with captions such as “UPDATE on Airstrikes in Yemen” and “BREAKING UK and US begin airstrikes of multiple locations in Yemen”. 

However, the footage pre-dates these recent airstrikes. It actually shows an explosion in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, in September 2023.

The footage was shared to Facebook on 3 September by an account describing itself as a “digital creator” based in Sanaa. It has the caption (translated from Arabic by Google): “The explosion of the Al-Mafzar natural gas station in the center of the capital, Sana'a We ask God for safety for everyone.”

The footage appeared in other reports on the explosion in the capital, including in a video by News China TV.  

Misinformation can spread widely during significant global events and international news stories. It’s important to consider whether something shows what it claims to show before sharing it online—our guides to spotting misleading images and videos should help you to do this.

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Responses from media outlets

Full Fact contacted the aforementioned media outlets about the miscaptioned video. 

The Guardian, Daily Express, Mirror and MailOnline removed references to the video and added notes recognising the amendment after we got in touch. ITV also removed the video but has not added a note. 

At the time of publication, no amendments had been made to the Telegraph video (which has had 61,000 views), or the articles published by the Times and Sky. We will update this piece if we receive any further responses. 

Media organisations have a responsibility to publish accurate information that does not mislead the public. Inaccuracies should be corrected quickly and transparently, with organisations clearly communicating any changes. 

Full Fact has written about other instances of footage being falsely connected to recent events in the Red Sea, including claims that videos show an attack on a British oil tanker, the capture of an Israeli submarine and the bombing of an Israeli cargo ship

Image courtesy of Anas Al-Hajj

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