Israeli media outlets reported on Friday that a rare eagle was recuperated after it crossed from the occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights into opposition-controlled areas, where it was suspected of being an Israeli “spying eagle.”
According to some reports, the bird was captured by rebel forces when it crossed the Israeli border.
In the past few days, several activists on social media shared photos of the eagle, while others wrote that the bird “carried Israeli advanced spying devices to photograph opposition-held areas,” in southern Syria.
However, Israeli sources denied the claims and said the eagle is a rare bird that flew from the Golan Heights Gamla Nature Reserve.
Israeli reports said the bird carries a GPS device to track its movement.
The Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper clarified on Friday that “the vultures—as evidenced by the tracking devices affixed to some of them to trace their movements—occasionally fly over the border. When they do, they are sometimes caught and the electronics attached to their leg are often suspected of being espionage devices.”
Later, environmental activists secured the bird’s release after they mediated with a Syrian opposition faction fighting in the area where the eagle was found.
The bird was returned to Israel this week by a third party, probably linked to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
“News of its capture reached animal activists, who went into action and mediated between the Israeli army and the rebel organization on the bird's behalf. Thanks to their involvement, the vulture was returned home Tuesday by a third party,” the newspaper said on its website.