Fact Check: Video Of Burning Cars Does NOT Show Assassination Attempt On Saudi Crown Prince In May 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Of Burning Cars Does NOT Show Assassination Attempt On Saudi Crown Prince In May 2024 Car Accident

Does a video of burning cars show the aftermath of an assassination attempt on the life of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in May 2024? No, that's not true: This video, which is not from May, shows a car accident in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, weeks earlier. In mid-March 2024 the Saudi Civil Defense posted on their X account a photo of a firefighter spraying down the wreckage. Bystander video of the cars when they were engulfed in flames was also posted at that time, only to resurface weeks later with a false narrative about an assassination attempt attached.

One copy of the bystander video was posted on X, formerly Twitter, by @saudi_fight on March 16, 2024. A cropped version of this video resurfaced, posted by @wntrintel on May 6, 2024, with a false caption added:

Arab sources are reporting an assassination attempt against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

This is what the post, which is no longer available, looked like on X at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue May 7 16:35:53 2024 UTC)

As of May 7, 2024, there is no credible reporting that there has been a recent attempt on the life of Mohammed Bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia. A Google search using keywords returned only results with the false claim on social media or fact checks debunking it.

The video in fact shows the aftermath of a car accident in March, which according to the Saudi Civil Defense, did not result in any injuries.

(Note: The platform X displays the timestamp of posts relative to the viewer, rather than the local time of the poster. The timestamps of the screenshots in this article are EDT. It was early morning in Saudi Arabia on March 16, 2024, when @SaudiDCD made the post that displays as "11:11 PM Mar 15, 2024" in the EDT screenshots.)

On March 16, 2024, @saudi_fight shared the video bearing the traces of its original TikTok poster, Saudi M&m's -- the video is no longer publicly visible on that TikTok account. The text remaining at the bottom of the @wntrintel video (pictured above) reads, "7985 people added to Favorites." This is the same number as was present on the original captioning on the March 16, 2024, copy of @Saudi M&m's video embedded below. Translated by Google, the caption reads:

King Salman Road fire

Riyadh, KSA. Riyadh
7985 people added to Favorites
Saudi M&m's
From the tragedy, she was sitting in a state of confusion without any reason: a fire
Riyadh #fyp #foryou#
Using the name of the business in the illuminated sign, "Alkhunaizan," Lead Stories was able to find the location of the appliance chain store on King Salman Road (inset below). Features of this storefront match both the @Saudi M&m's video and the photo posted on X by the Saudi Civil Defense. That post, translated from Arabic by Google, was captioned:
#الدفاع_المدني بالرياض يخمد حريقًا في مركبتين إثر حادث مروري، ولا إصابات.
Civil_Defense in Riyadh extinguishes a fire in two vehicles following a traffic accident, and no injuries were reported.
(Source: Lead Stories composite image made with X and Instantstreetview screenshots taken on Tue May 07 20:29:47 2024 UTC)
Additional Lead Stories fact checks on claims about the Saudi crown prince can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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