Last month, the United States deployed two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean, warning Iran and Hezbollah to stay out of the conflict.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah replied that the militant group, which possesses anti-ship missiles, has “prepared well for your fleets.”
That has spurred speculation, and the spread of mis- and disinformation on social media.
Nexta, a Poland-based, Belarusian media outlet with more than one million followers on X, posted a video showing a portion of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal. The post included this caption:
"Hezbollah published a video demonstrating its anti-ship missiles after media reported the arrival of US warships in the Mediterranean Sea.”
That is misleading. While the video belongs to Hezbollah, it was first released in 2019 and was not created in response to the current conflict.
A community note on Nexta’s post links to a September 2019 post on X (then Twitter) with the same video. It reads:
“Hezbollah showcase missile ‘capable of sinking any battleship’
“Hezbollah revelaed [SIC] a missile ‘specialized in destroying all military battleships of all kinds and annihilating all who are on board.’
"[T]he missile is the same as the one that struck the INS Hanit during the 2006 war.
“[D]isinformation about the conflict continues to dominate on social networks.”
Despite the appearance of a community note that added this context, Nexta kept the video up, and it now has over 750 thousand views.
A fact-check by Indian media organization BOOM confirmed the community note, adding that “the video is from 2019 and shows a documentary about how Lebanon-based political party and militant group Hezbollah attacked Israeli ships during the 2006 war.”
Still, other blue-checked X users with an active subscription to the platform likewise posted the same video, either explicitly identifying it as new or otherwise failing to note the video is at least four years old.
Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim political party whose military wing is more powerful than the Lebanese army, has so far limited its operations to cross-border attacks on Israel.
The militant group, which frames itself as an anti-Israeli resistance moment, has threatened escalation. Hezbollah does have a sizable rocket and missile arsenal.
But the missiles pictured in the video shared by Nexta and others are not new.
According to the Missile Defense Project, initiated by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank, Iran has developed its own variant of the C-802, called the Noor, which it has transferred to Hezbollah. The think tank said, “Hezbollah’s C-802s are likely maintained and operated by Iranian military personnel.”
China first unveiled the C-802 in 1989. According to CSIS, Iran bought dozens from the Chinese in the 1990s until Washington pressured it to stop.
Hezbollah also possesses the Russia-developed Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile, which can be air-, ground- or sub-launched.
The CSIS said Hezbollah struck Israel’s INS Hanit, a Sa'ar 5-class corvette, on July 4, 2006, with a C-802 medium-range anti-ship cruise missile.
Although the INS Hanit had the ability to defend itself against the attack at that time, it did not due to an intelligence failure.
An investigation found that the crew had disabled the INS Hanit’s Barak missile defense system, which was capable of intercepting the C-802, as they did not believe Iran possessed such weapons.
While some verified X users have played up the dangers posed by these missiles, which are real, the two U.S. carrier strike groups deployed to the Mediterranean have layered defenses designed to tackle such threats.
That includes Aegis ballistic missile defense system-equipped destroyers.
Last month, one of those destroyers, the USS Carney, shot down rockets and drones fired from Yemen.
As previously noted by Polygraph.info, misuse and misattribution of old footage has become a signature disinformation tactic of the Israel-Hamas war.
They include attempts to pass off footage from the war in Syria, footage of an Indian navy missile test, footage of militant activity in the Philippines, and footage of an instructional course for an Islamic burial ritual — likely in Southeast Asia — as linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Blue-checked, “verified” X users remain a major source of mis- and disinformation about the Israel-Hamas War.