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Have Yemen and Iran officially declared war on Israel? No, claim of start of ‘World War 3’ false

IN SHORT: A Nigerian vlogger claims that Yemen and Iran have declared war on Israel, describing it as the beginning of World War III. He says this war will reach everywhere, including Nigeria. The claim is false.

Note: This report includes details of a breaking news story. Information was, as far as possible, accurate at the time of publication but may change rapidly.

In Nigerian Pidgin, a Nigeria video blogger claims that Yemen and Iran have declared war on Israel and joined the Israel-Hamas war, also known as the Israel-Gaza war.

The vlogger warned Nigerians against expressing support for any side in the conflict, which he said was turning into a world war and spreading to other countries, including Nigeria. 

He says: “Mind you, this will reach everywhere. World War 3 go reach everywhere, even here in Africa. Now Yemen and Iran don join. Small time, Syria go join, Saudi go join, Russia go join, China go join, US go join, France go join. E go reach everywhere. And Egypt go join. Egypt and Palestine dey share border. E go join. And when Egypt join, e don reach Africa. E go reach everywhere, even here in Nigeria.” 

As evidence, the video includes a screenshot of a report published by the Jewish Press news site with the headline: “Yemen, an Iranian vassal state, declares war on Israel.” 

The video also includes a clip of Brigadier General Yahya Saree, the spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthi rebel group, announcing that they have launched missiles at Israel in defence of Palestine. 

All three countries are in the region known as the Middle East, but they are not neighbours. But have Yemen and Iran declared war on Israel

Video falsely claiming that Yemen and Iran have declared war on Israel

Israel-Hamas war rages on 

The decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people escalated on 7 October 2023 when militant Islamic group Hamas launched an attack on Israel from Gaza.

The Gaza Strip is a narrow territory that lies mainly within Israel and has been controlled by Hamas since 2007.

On 8 October 2023, Israel responded with its own rocket strikes into Gaza and declared war on Hamas. By 11 December, the death toll in Gaza was reported to be nearing 18,000. At the time of writing, calls for a new ceasefire were intensifying as the war raged on.

Neither Yemen nor Iran have declared war on Israel

The Houthis, who are known to be backed by Iran, seized power in Yemen in September 2014. They have held the capital Sanaa during the ongoing civil war. The group is fighting the internationally recognised Yemeni government led by president Rashad al-Alimi.

According to media reports, the Houthis launched ballistic missiles on Israel from Yemen in November 2023. 

The first paragraph of the Jewish Press report from 31 October shown in the video reads: “The Iranian vassal state of Yemen, run by Tehran’s Houthi proxy group, has officially declared war Tuesday against the State of Israel.” 

The international news agency Al Jazeera also reported that it was the Houthis, not the state of Yemen, who had declared war on Israel.  

Other fact-checking organisations have also debunked the claim that the internationally recognised government of Yemen declared war on Israel.

The government of Iran has expressed support for Hamas against Israel. However, there is no evidence that Iran has declared war or directly attacked Israel since early October, when the ongoing escalated conflict between Israel and Hamas began. 

The claim that Yemen and Iran have declared war on Israel is false.

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