Video shows Norwegian navy testing missile, not 'USS Mason hit by Huthi rebels'

A decade-old video of the Norwegian navy testing a missile resurfaced in social media posts that falsely presented it as Yemen's Huthi rebels attacking a US warship in the Red Sea following the outbreak of the Gaza war. The footage circulated after Washington said the USS Mason intercepted a missile launched by the Iran-backed Huthis on May 13, 2024. However, the video was published in June 2013 by the Norwegian Armed Forces.

"USS Mason Destroyed in Red Sea," read a simplified Chinese Weibo post that shared the video on May 17, 2024.

"On May 16, the Huthis in Yemen announced they had fired a number of missiles that hit the USS Mason, a US destroyer in the Red Sea."

Screenshot of the false post, captured on June 6, 2024

The Huthis, who control much of Yemen, have carried out dozens of drone and missile strikes on ships since November, claiming solidarity with Palestinians over the Israel-Hamas war.

The attacks have forced commercial vessels to divert from the shipping route, which normally carries about 12 percent of global trade.

Since January, the United States and Britain have launched repeated strikes on Huthi targets in Yemen in response to the rebels' harassment of shipping.

The US Central Command said the Mason "successfully engaged and destroyed" an anti-ship ballistic missile launched by Huthis over the Red Sea on May 13, 2024 (archived link).

Similar videos were shared in posts on Facebook and Chinese video platform Bilibili that linked them to the Red Sea attacks.

However, the footage is old and unrelated.

Norway missile test

A reverse image search on Google and keyword searches found the clip posted by the Norwegian Armed Forces on its Facebook page on June 5, 2013 (archived link).

According to the Facebook post, the video shows the Norwegian navy blowing up the decommissioned warship KNM Trondheim for a missile test on June 4, 2013.

Below is a screenshot comparison between the video shared in the false posts (left) and in the Norwegian Armed Forces' Facebook post (right):

Screenshot comparison between the video shared in the false posts (left) and in the Norwegian Armed Forces' Facebook post (right)

CNN also reported on the Norwegian navy's missile test on June 7, 2013 (archived link).

AFP has previously fact-checked similar posts that misrepresented the clip as a Russian warship exploding in 2022.

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