Was there a recent assassination attempt on Saudi Prince bin Salman?

We came across the following posts from 7 May on the social media site X:

The posts suggest that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had escaped an assassination attempt.

Each of the posts on the topic contains an 11-second video clip, with the location tagged as Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The video shows a number of cars haphazardly stopped along a road next to police or emergency vehicles with the blinkers flashing.

In front of the vehicles, another vehicle can be seen on fire. In the background is an unidentified building. The video is taken from the perspective of passengers in a vehicle moving along the road, who are speaking in Arabic and appear to be concerned about the situation.

The text in the X posts contain additional details beyond the claim that the video showed an assassination attempt on bin Salman. One post suggested that there was a large number of casualties among the crown prince’s private guards, while another suggested that three Pakistani nationals were arrested following the incident.

No Credible Reports, Thoroughly Debunked

When we did a keyword search on search engines regarding the alleged assassination attempt, we found that the incident had barely received any coverage in international media. While there were a few websites that reported on the incident, none of them could be considered credible sources of news.

On the contrary, we found that multiple established factchecking outlets had already investigated this claim and found it to be false, including the Arab factchecking platform Misbar, US-based factchecking site Lead Stories and the Indian independent media organisation D-FRAC.

According to the factchecking platforms, the original video had first appeared on TikTok on the account ‘Saudi M&m’s’ without any suggestion in its caption or accompanying text that the incident was an assassination attempt on the crown prince. While the video is no longer publicly visible on the TikTok account, it had been reposted on X later on 16 March.

Lead Stories and Misbar found that the Saudi Civil Defence had posted a photo on X on 16 March referring to a fire involving two vehicles but in which no injuries were reported.

The platforms were able to identify the features of the building in the background of the photo from the Civil Defence and match them to the building in the background of the video in the X posts.

It is therefore false that the videos depict an assassination attempt on the Saudi crown prince. They instead show a cropped version of a video of a traffic accident in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from March.

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