Fact Check: Bahrain's King Did NOT Flee His Country Amid Mass Pro-Yemen Protests On January 14, 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Jamal Halaby
Fact Check: Bahrain's King Did NOT Flee His Country Amid Mass Pro-Yemen Protests On January 14, 2024 Still Reigning

Did Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa flee his country to Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2024, alarmed by mass pro-Yemen protests and a possible coup attempt in his Gulf Arab nation? No, that's not true: The state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) showed the monarch hosting young Bahraini athletes at one of his royal palaces in the capital, Manama, on January 15, 2024. He appeared to be relaxed and was beaming during the meeting and subsequent photo opportunity with the athletes.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on January 14, 2024, under the title (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff):

The departure of Bahrain's ruler, the agent, from the royal palace, afraid of a coup. (He) headed for Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jan 16 12:14:00 2024 UTC)

The 35-second Arabic video, dated January 14, 2024, shows footage of angry Bahraini protesters taking to the streets in various areas of the country to condemn their government's public support for the joint U.S.-U.K. airstrikes on pro-Iranian Houthi targets in Yemen on January 12, 2024. "You stand up for the Jews, but let down Palestine. Where is your Islam?" said one of the banners waved by the crowd, which chanted: "No Zionist embassy in Bahrain."

A headline in the video (as translated) said: "The people of Bahrain and some policemen break ranks with the mole because of his participation in the strikes on Yemen." Another headline in a red bar read: "The ruler of Bahrain (advocates) normal ties (with Israel) and sells land to (emoji of an Israeli flag)."

A similar but shorter video (archived here) of the protests by the same user @nourm.987009 on January 13, 2024, claimed that the monarch had fled the country in a royal aircraft noting his destination was "unknown."

However, BNA, the Bahrain News Agency (archived here), showed the king presiding over a meeting of athletes at one of his royal palaces in the capital, Manama, on January 15, 2024, contradicting the claims that he fled the country. BNA showed Al Khalifa looking relaxed and smiling during the meeting and a subsequent photo opportunity with the athletes.

The Bahrain Mirror (archived here) reported that a handful of protests broke out in the country on January 12, 2024, "condemning the participation of the Bahraini government in the American-British aggression against Yemen." It said the protesters chanted "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."

In Washington, the Department of Defense (archived here) confirmed that Bahrain supported the airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. It said the joint strikes were carried out by the U.S. and the United Kingdom "with nonoperational support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands." The Pentagon statement on January 12, 2024, said the airstrikes "targeted Houthi missile, radar and unmanned areal vehicle capabilities used to carry out attacks against vessels operating in international waters."

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  Jamal Halaby

Jamal Halaby is a fact-checker, who has been working with Lead Stories for nearly two years, helping bring the truth and factual information to the organization's global audience. With extensive background in investigative journalism and content writing and editing in Arabic and English, Jamal uses that experience to expose a burgeoning market of misinformation and disinformation. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Associated Press and several other reputable international news organizations. He has a passion for empirical analysis and discerning the veracity of the news.

Read more about or contact Jamal Halaby

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