It’s just a bird: Saudi concerns over latest ‘Zionist vulture’ a lot of fuss and feathers
In the latest of a bizarre series of incidents involving animals, Arab oligarchies and accusations of Zionist plots, on Saturday a Saudi villager discovered a dead bird tagged with the word “Israel.”
The bird was found in Safra village, near the border with Jordan, and was handed over to the authorities for examination. It was the third time a bird thought to originate from Israel was found in the Kingdom.
In January 2011 a vulture was “arrested” and detained by Saudi authorities on suspicion of taking part in a “Zionist plot” for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The griffon vulture was fitted with a GPS transmitter bearing the name of Tel Aviv University. In this case, the vulture was caught by a Saudi farmer using a sheep as bait, local media reported at the time.
Conspiracy theories quickly circulated in Saudi newspapers and on websites that the bird was an agent sent by Israeli hawks. Israel responded to the suggestions by airing concerns the bird would face horrible punishments in the Saudi justice system.
A month earlier, Egyptian officials implied Mossad was to blame for shark attacks off its coast.
In a similar discovery, Sudanese officials captured a vulture from Israel in Darfur in December 2012.
A Saudi royal family member dismissed speculation that the Israeli bird was on a spy mission. “I think you have to ask the wildlife officials about this but such birds are always seen in many countries as they are used to measure distances,” Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the assistant defence minister, told Emirates 24/7.