Fact Check: Iran Did NOT Attack USS Liberty Off Coast Of Bahrain In April 2024 -- US Military Has No Such Ship

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Iran Did NOT Attack USS Liberty Off Coast Of Bahrain In April 2024 -- US Military Has No Such Ship No Ship Attack

Did Iran attack the Navy vessel USS Liberty off the coast of Bahrain in April 2024? No, that's not true: The U.S. Navy does not have an active ship by that name at the time of writing, and there were no reports of any other U.S. vessel being hit by Iranian missiles as of April 2, 2024, the day the claim was initially made. The last American military ship with that name was heavily damaged in an Israeli strike in 1967 during the Six-Day War.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook by Michelle Moore Winder on April 2, 2024. The post's on-screen caption said:

US ship has been hit by Iranian missiles off the coast of Bahrain- believed to be the USS Liberty 

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


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Apr 4 15:03:03 2024 UTC)

The post did not cite any source or provide any evidence for the claim.

Google searches

A Google News search (archived here) using the terms "'USS Liberty' AND Iran AND Bahrain" produced "no results." Here's a screenshot of the search:


(Source: Google screenshot taken on Thu Apr 4 17:02:29 2024 UTC)

A general Google search (archived here) found multiple reports of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels firing on American ships, but no direct attacks by the Iranian military. Additionally, there were no reports of damage to any U.S. vessels in the days immediately preceding April 2, 2024, when the social media post was published.

U.S. Navy

Although the U.S. Navy has had multiple ships named USS Liberty (1, 2, 3) throughout its history, as of the day of this writing, there were no active vessels sailing under that name, according to the Naval Vessel Register (archived here). This is what the "L" section of the list looked like on April 4, 2024:


(Source: Naval Vessel Register website screenshot taken on Thu Apr 4 17:44:54 2024 UTC)

The last Navy vessel to operate as the USS Liberty was badly damaged in an Israeli attack during the Six-Day War in June 1967. The USS Liberty was decommissioned (archived here) in June 1968 and was sold for scrap several years later, the Naval Vessel Register said.

U.S. Central Command

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), a unified military command within the Department of Defense that protects American interests in 20 countries across the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and nearby waters, had no reports of any U.S. ship being hit by Iranian missiles in early April 2024. However, CENTCOM said U.S. forces thwarted several attempted attacks by Houthi rebels on April 1 and April 3, 2024. The press releases appear below:


(Source: CENTCOM website screenshots taken on Thu Apr 4 2024 UTC)

Read more

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Iran, missiles and Houthi rebels can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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