Flight of fancyFlight of fancy

Turkey clears bird held as Israeli spy

Kestrel captured with Tel Aviv University tag and X-rayed as Mossad agent before being released back into wild

A kestrel. (photo credit: CC BY mozzercork, Flickr)
A kestrel. (photo credit: CC BY mozzercork, Flickr)

A bird captured in Turkey on suspicion of being an Israeli spy was released after a thorough examination revealed that the falcon was not in the employ of the Mossad.

Resident of the Ağın district in the eastern province of Elazığ became concerned after a kestrel, with a tag reading “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel,” ventured nearby, Turkish media reported Friday.

After capturing the winged invader, locals turned it over to Turkish authorities, who had the bird X-rayed at a nearby university, according to the Turkish news outlet Hurriyet.

The bird was apparently registered as an “Israeli spy” by medical personnel.

After determining that the bird had been tagged for research purposes and not snooping, authorities released the kestrel back into the sky.

Israeli use of non-human spies is apparently a large concern in the Middle East. In May of 2012, authorities in Ankara dissected a European bee-eater after becoming concerned that it was carrying an Israeli listening device, and in December an eagle with an Israeli tag in Sudan was captured and touted as a Mossad spy.

In 2010, an Egyptian official said Israel-controlled sharks could be involved in a number of attacks on tourists in the Red Sea.

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