Dated tanker footage misrepresented as Huthi, Islamic Resistance assault

A video circulating on social media purports to show a ship ablaze near Haifa in Israel after being targeted by Yemen's Huthi rebels and the Islamic Resistance of Iraq. This is false; the clip is from 2019 and depicts gas tankers that caught fire during a fuel transfer.

"Yemen and Iraq successfully targeted two Isr*aeli ships carrying mili*tary equipment for the Isr*ael in the port of Ha*ifa," says a June 6, 2024 post sharing the footage on X.

Screenshot of an X post taken June 10, 2024

The claim spread elsewhere on X and Facebook, including in Thai, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French and Indonesian.

Since November 2023, the Huthis have attacked shipping around the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. They say their actions are in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where Israel has been at war with the militant group Hamas since October 7.

US and British forces have responded with strikes against the rebels, who have since declared American and British interests to be targets as well. The attacks have prompted some shipping companies to detour around southern Africa to avoid the Red Sea, a route that normally carries about 12 percent of global trade.

The Huthis claimed in early June 2024 that they and the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, a loose alliance of pro-Iran groups, jointly launched two attacks on ships carrying military equipment in Israel's Haifa port.

But the Israeli military told multiple media outlets the claim was false (archived here and here) -- and the video spreading online is not recent.

A reverse image and keyword search uncovered the video, credited to Reuters, in a January 22, 2019 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report (archived here).

Two commercial ships -- the Maestro and Kandy, operating under the Tanzanian flag -- caught fire January 21, 2019 near the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov off the coast of Crimea.

The fire broke out as one vessel transferred fuel to the other, driving both crews to jump overboard. Fourteen people were killed.

AFP has debunked other misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war here.

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