In Brief

Hamas 'captures Israeli spy dolphin'

Palestinian paper claims Hamas found spy camera and weapon attached to dolphin off the Gaza strip

A dolphin fitted with a camera, a "remote control monitoring device" and a contraption that could fire small arrows underwater has been captured by Hamas frogmen, according to a report in the Palestinian daily al-Quds.

The paper claims the dolphin was being used by the Israeli navy off the Gaza Strip to attack Hamas's commando wing, Izzadin Kassam.

The commandos had reportedly been tracking the animal's "suspicious movements" for weeks until they captured it a few days ago. They said the dolphin was fitted with a remote-controlled device to monitor underwater activities, a camera and an arrow gun.

ForeignPolicy.com says there is "probably" no truth to the claim that the dolphin was militarised. It points out that GPS tags attached to dolphins by scientists do "look somewhat like spy gear".

The Jerusalem Post mocks the al-Quds claims, photoshopping a commando-style green beret onto a dolphin to illustrate the story and adding the detail that the animal had been "arrested" as a spy.

Left-wing Israeli daily Haaretz says such accusations are "nothing new in the Middle East", given that Egyptian authorities suggested Israel might be behind a spate of shark attacks on Egypt's beaches using trained sharks.

According to Haaretz, three years ago Sudan reported that it had caught another Israeli spy animal. In fact it was just an eagle that had been ringed by Israeli scientists to monitor its movements.

But militarised dolphins do exist, says the Washington Post. The US Navy trains dolphins and sea lions for reconnaissance missions and to help rescue people, but insists they are never fitted with weapons. They do wear cameras, however.

And after Russia annexed Crimea last year, the Ukrainian authorities demanded that their military dolphins be returned. Reports said they too had been trained for underwater reconnaissance.

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