Hezbollah accuses endangered Israeli eagle of spying


An Israeli eagle was captured by Hezbollah which claims that it was a spy.


Joel Saget

Israel's endangered eagles are one step closer to extinction this week after being seized by Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Hezbollah's television station Al Manar said that the bird had tags on it that read "ISRAEL" and had transmission equipment attached to it.

Consequently, it was a spy, the station reported.

The bird was found in the Lebanese town of Achkout by amateur hunters.

The capture occurred much to the dismay of Israeli ornithologist Yossi Leshem who said that he was tracking the bird for research.

He said he was "incredibly frustrated" it was harmed.

Leshem told the Jerusalem Post that "spy bird" fiascos were harming wildlife conservation.

"We are trying so hard to keep our wildlife and putting so much money [into it] and we are losing the battle,” Leshem told the Post on Thursday.

“Now we have a new issue which is causing so much problems, so it’s very frustrating for a nature lover.”

This type of eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, has only nine pairs of mating age in Israel currently, making it severely endangered.

It is not the first time an neighboring country has captured a migrating bird and accused it of spying for Israel.

Egypt has had particularly paranoid visions of Israeli animals.

Egyptian authorities captured a stork last month with similar equipment. The bird was imprisoned then released after the device was cleared.

Egypt also accused Israel of training sharks to kill tourists after a spate of attacks recently.

Last summer, Turkey captured a bird that was wearing a metal leg band put on by Israeli scientists. The bird was later released and cleared of spying allegations.