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Israeli ‘Spy Vulture’ Caught in Sudan

Several Middle Eastern media reported that Sudan captured a vulture which the country’s officials say Israel fitted with spy equipment.

According to the online edition of the Egyptian daily El Balad, the vulture was captured in the town of Kereinek in the Darfur region in Sudan’s west and that the finding prompted Sudanese authorities to announce Israel was using vultures to spy on their country. The report in El Balad does not say who made these claims.

The equipment fitted on the vulture was solar-powered and allows broadcasting information gathered, including images, via satellite uplink, the paper said. It also had GPS installed.

The report further states that the Sudanese security services were able to determine that the equipment found on the vulture came from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and had a logo of the university on it.

The Iranian television station Press TV quoted unspecified Sudanese media as reporting that the raptor had a leg band with labels that read, in Hebrew, “Israel Nature Service” as well as “Hebrew University, Jerusalem.”

“This means the equipment installed on the vulture was mounted on it in its home country,” the written account in El Balad read.

An ecologist for Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, Ohad Hazofe, is quoted as telling Ynet, the Israeli news site, that vultures are routinely tagged and fitted with a GPS chip for research purposes.

“This is a young vulture that was tagged, along with 100 others, in October. He has two wing bands and a German-made GPS chip,” Hatzofe said. The device, he added, had no photography capabilities. “This is equipment that can give out distance and altitude readings only. That’s the only way we knew something had happened to the bird – all of a sudden it stopped flying and started traveling on the ground.”

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