Friday, September 21, 2007

Syrian threat is for the birds

The only thing they are dropping is guano, but the IDF is gunning for them. A flock of migratory birds winging over the Syrian border into Israeli airspace sent fighter jets scrambling on this sensitive frontier, according to wire reports. For the past few days, the Israeli armed forces were on maneuvers near the border and there had been no visible Syrian response to the buildup. The IDF is on heightened security alert as the country celebrates Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, and takes a 24 hour fast.

Israeli fighter pilots scrambled warplanes on Friday after ground radar spotted a potential airborne enemy flying from Syria -- only to discover the culprits were migratory birds, army radio reported.

Israeli radar picked up the birds over the Syrian border but officers were unable to rule them out as enemy aircraft from the screen images.

Tensions have heightened on Israel's northern border with Syria since Damascus said its air defences fired on Israeli warplanes that dropped munitions inside its territory in the early hours of September 6. All reporting on the incident has been censored inside Israel.

A military official quoted by the radio stressed that false alerts are common and precautionary action requires warplanes to head off any possible risk.

Israel and Syria are technically at war and the last round of peace negotiations collapsed in 2000, over the fate of the Golan Heights which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981.

No comments: