Hold that bird! Egypt arrests message-carrying pigeon


A pigeon stands at the rooftop of a building in Cairo 18 February 2006.


Khaled Desouki

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Egyptian authorities have intercepted a mysterious message literally mid-flight with the arrest of a carrier pigeon in the country's north, according to Egypt's Ahram Online

Twitter users were quick to take advantage of the situation in order to poke fun at a bird analogy used by the president to describe the ruling Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party’s Renaissance Project winged efforts to rise above the country's problems, said Saudi Arabia's Al-Arabiya.

GlobalPost's senior correspondent in Cairo, Erin Cunningham, says Egyptians mocked the pigeon investigation on Twitter as “CSI: Egypt.” A Cairo-based reporter joked that a notoriously anti-Islamist newspaper was probably drafting a headline that had the pigeon carrying a Brotherhood hit list.

Activist Samira Ibrahim sarcastically tweeted “Breaking: The Renaissance pigeon is now under custody and is now held a Shubra police department:" 


The bird was detained in the northeastern city of Qalyubia and found carrying a microfilm with the message "Islam Egypt," reported Ahram Online

The bird is now under the careful watch of Egypt's Criminal Investigation Department, said Ahram Online, while the mystery microfilm is being developed at a local media lab as part of an ongoing investigation. 

"Egypt is the land of the absurd, rife with conspiracy theories — and this poor pigeon is the latest victim," Cunningham said.

She pointed to a case in 2010 when an Egyptian official blamed a series of shark attacks along the country’s Red Sea coast on Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad.

Cunningham added, "I’ve encountered a number of Egyptians who are convinced that I’m a spy — or that there are spies everywhere, even pigeons."

Erin Cunningham contributed reporting from Cairo. Follow her @erinmcunningham.