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Flipping outrage: Hamas 'arrests dolphin as Israeli spy'

Some-fin wrong? Dolphins are not known for their 007 skills [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 August, 2015

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Blog: Palestinian newspaper says Hamas frogman found remote-controlled camera and harpoons on dolphin 'acting suspiciously' off Gaza. Israel has yet to comment.

They're best known for backflips, eating fish and being nice to humans, but their reputation may just have taken a nosedive - a dolphin, armed to its pointy teeth and spying for the Israelis, has been "arrested" by elite Hamas frogmen, according to a Palestinian newspaper.

Quoting an unnamed source in the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, Alquds.com said on Wednesday that the dolphin was grabbed after it was seen "acting suspiciously" off Gaza.

It was beached and, on closer inspection, found to have a remote-controlled camera and a harpoon weapon, the report said.

The arrest was made several days ago, Alquds reported, and the current condition of the alleged underwater assassin was not disclosed.

Under the headlineExclusive to Alquds, detention of a dolphin off the coast of Gaza accused of carrying out assassinations!, the report stated the Israeli navy intended to observe Qassam commandos during underwater training, and target them with its harpoons.

"The sources said the weapon was able to fire skewers and small arrows, that could kill a person or at the very least seriously injure him," it said.

Israeli media has reported the claim, but there was no official response. Israeli Army Radio noted that Israel does indeed have a fleet of Dolphin-class subs, but the story was referring to an actual mammal.

     It's not the first story of Israel-animal collaboration. Wikipedia has a dedicated page to the growing genre of conspiracy.


To what porpoise?

The story may not be as fishy as it first appears.

The US trains dolphins for underwater search missions, fitting them with cameras and training them to respond to human instructions.

But it's not the first story of Israel-animal collaboration either. Wikipedia has a dedicated page to the growing genre of conspiracy.

Two years ago, Egyptian police arrested Menes the white stork after it was reported to be equipped with spying devices. The bird had in fact been fitted with a GPS tag that zoologists use to track migration.

Realising their mistake, police freed the bird. But tragedy soon followed comedy when Menes was caught by a local, and eaten.

In 2012, an eagle fitted with an Israeli tag was captured in Sudan and touted as a Mossad spy.

In 2010, Egypt was again the focus when a Captain Mustafa Ismail claimed he had proof of a Zionist conspiracy behind several shark attacks off Sharm el-Sheikh.

Electronic equipment had been found on one shark in the area, he said - all the proof he needed to show Israeli involvement. Marine biologists pointed out the equipment was, again, a GPS tracking device.

Such paranoia is not exclusive to the Middle East.

The residents of Hartlepool, England, will forever be known for a legend from the Napoleonic wars. The only survivor of a French shipwreck washed up on the shore - a strange, human-like creature in a French uniform who spoke no English.

The creature was a monkey, and had been dressed by the French crew. Sadly, the Hartlepudlians had never seen a monkey (or a Frenchman), and the animal was tried, convicted and hanged as a spy on the beach.

The town's residents are still known today, perhaps unfairly, as monkey hangers.

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