A huge vulture detained in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel has been returned home after UN peacekeepers intervened, Israeli officials said.
The bird, which has a 1.9m (6ft 5in) wing span, flew over the border from an Israeli game reserve and was caught by Lebanese villagers on Tuesday.
They became suspicious as the griffon vulture had a tracking device attached to its tail.
It is part of a conservation project to reintroduce raptors to the Middle East.
|The vulture is now being treated at a wildlife clinic near Tel Aviv for minor injuries.
According to the report, the vulture was being treated for "minor injuries" -- a result of its grueling interrogations?
Of course, this is not the first animal accused of spying for Israel. Besides the vulture accused of spying by Saudi Arabia in 2011, there have been dolphins, sharks and a stork accused of being enlisted by Israel. And let's not forget about the time, back in 2007, that Iranians arrest 14 squirrels for spying, an accomplishment Iran justifiably bragged was "thanks to the alertness of our intelligence services."
But then again, in view of recent news of the US and the UK spying on Israeli drones for years, perhaps Israel will be rethinking that move and will instead bring the vultures (if not also the dolphins, sharks, storks -- and squirrels) out of retirement:
@daledamos @BBCWorld now probably kicking themselves, though, because it was harder for US, UK spooks to read minds of vultures
— Citizen Wald (@CitizenWald) January 31, 2016
Time will tell
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