Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show American Ship In Red Sea Hit By Houthis In January 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show American Ship In Red Sea Hit By Houthis In January 2024 California

Does a video on TikTok show an American ship in the Red Sea being attacked by the Houthis in January 2024? No, that's not true: The video shows the burning U.S. naval ship USS Bonhomme Richard at the naval base in San Diego in 2020.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @mohamad.odeh.1 on January 10, 2024, with the caption (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff):

Breaking and Exclusive

This is the American ship that was hit by the Houthis yesterday.

May God enhance your targeting and bless your dominance over them.

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

Screenshot 2024-01-15 at 00.26.30.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Sun Jan 14 23:26:11 2024 UTC)

The Houthis (archived here) are an Iranian-backed group in Yemen that carries out attacks (archived here) on ships in the Red Sea, claiming (archived here) to be responding to Israel's bombardment of Gaza, which followed Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.

On January 15, 2024, Lead Stories conducted a reverse image search (archived here) with Yandex, which led to the original video (archived here) published on YouTube by @meandplanet1926 on July 13, 2020. That video's title (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) read: "USA. A fierce fire on a U.S. Navy amphibious ship." The caption said the video showed the US Navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard in flames on a pier at the San Diego naval base.

Lead Stories then conducted a Google search that same day (archived here) using the keywords "US Navy Ship USS Bonhomme Richard," "burning" and "San Diego." The search led to a report (archived here) from the Los Angeles Times on July 12, 2020, titled "17 sailors, four others injured in three-alarm fire aboard ship at Naval Base San Diego." The article included a photo of the burning ship, which confirmed the information in the caption of the YouTube video.

This is what the Los Angeles Times report looked like at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-01-17 at 01.04.17.png

(Source: Los Angeles Times screenshot taken on Wed Jan 17 00:04:17 2024 UTC)

The incident was reported in various media, such as Forbes (archived here), Daily Mail (archived here), The Guardian (archived here), The Telegraph (archived here) and CBS News (archived here).

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  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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