The alert came from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency which later said "No missile threat to Hawaii."

This smartphone screen capture shows a false incoming ballistic missile emergency alert sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency system on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.
This smartphone screen capture shows a false incoming ballistic missile emergency alert sent from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency system on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (AP)

Social media ignited Saturday after apparent screenshots of cell phone emergency alerts warning of a "ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii" began circulating, which US officials quickly dismissed as "false."

"Hawaii - this is a false alarm," wrote Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard on Twitter.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the US military's Pacific Command also confirmed there is "NO missile threat to Hawaii."

The emergency alert that some cell phone users received read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

TRT World's Joseph Hayat has more.

US President Donald Trump was briefed after the warning.

"The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii's emergency management exercise. This was purely a state exercise," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said.

US military spokesman David Benham said the US Pacific Command "has detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Earlier message was sent in error," adding that the US state would "send out a correction message as soon as possible."

The warning came across the Emergency Alert System, which authorities nationwide use to delivery vital emergency information to the public.

It caused panic across the US island chain following months of soaring tensions between Washington and Pyongyang over North Korea's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile program.

The North has been working towards developing a missile that can deliver an atomic warhead to US territory, heightening fears of potential attack.

Source: AFP