Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show US, UK Strike Against Houthis In Yemen

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show US, UK Strike Against Houthis In Yemen Old Photo

Does a social media photograph of a fiery explosion show evidence of U.S. and U.K. strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in January 2024? No, that's not true: It's an old image. In reality, the photo shows an explosion in the Chinese city of Tianjin in August 2015.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on January 11, 2024. The post included side-by-side images showing, on the left, a helicopter flying over a cargo ship, and, on the right, an explosion. The post asked:

Did the Houthis really think this through?

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

Screenshot 2024-01-12 at 11.32.16 AM.png

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Jan 12 17:14:30 2024 UTC)

The U.S. and U.K. militaries launched a massive strike against Houthi targets in Yemen on January 11, 2024. The strikes were in retaliation for repeated Houthi attacks on commercial and military vessels in the Red Sea.

The post's lefthand photo, which appeared under the words "HOW IT STARTED," is from the Houthi military and was used by Reuters, which described it as a Houthi helicopter flying over a cargo ship. The post's righthand photograph, which shows an explosion, appeared under the words "HOW IT'S GOING." This implies that the image shows the January 2024 retaliatory strikes.

It does not. On August 12, 2015, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency posted the photo (archived here) on X, then called Twitter, to show an explosion at a warehouse in Tianjin, a city in northern China. Xinhua credited the photo to unspecified "web sources." The U.S. news site Voice of America (archived here), a congressionally funded outlet, also used the same photo, credited to "Twitter," to report on this explosion.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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