A Kestrel captured in Turkey on suspicion of being an Israeli spy has been released after officials concluded it was not actually in the employ of Mossad.
The bird of prey was discovered by residents of Altinavya, a village in Elazig province, wearing a tag marked "24311 Tel Avivunia Israel."
Bands such as this are often used to track bird migrations. However, residents of the village turned the bird over to Turkish authorities who sent the bird to be X-rayed at Elazig’s Firat University.
Authorities confirmed that they released the bird back into the wild yesterday after finding that "there was no other device" attached to the bird aside from the leg band.
According to reports medical staff labeled the bird "Israeli Spy", though it is not known whether the label was tongue-in-cheek.
After authorities were satisfied that the bird had been tagged for research purposes and not snooping the kestrel was free to go on its way.
This isn't the first time Turkish authorities appear to have become concerned about an animal spy working for Mossad. In March of last year authorities reportedly examined the carcass of a European bee-eater on suspicion that the bird was spying for Israel.
Reports at the time claimed that authorities had their suspicions raised by the dead bird's nostrils.
One nostril was larger than the other prompting concerns that Mossad equipment may have been implanted in the bird's beak.
Elsewhere, in December last year an eagle carrying an Israeli tag was touted as a Mossad spy in Sudan.
In 2010 an Egyptian official said Israel-controlled sharks could be involved in a number of tourist attacks in the Red Sea.