04:10 GMT +317 November 2019
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    A Laggar Falcon begins a typical swoop at Tal Chappar Sanctuary, Rajasthan, India.

    PETA Condemns Use of ‘Terror’ Falcons Reportedly Sent From Gaza to Israel

    © Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Sumeet Moghe
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    An hour after a Twitter user alerted animal rights organization PETA on Tuesday to an incident in which a falcon tied to flammable material was sent from the Gaza Strip to Israel as a method of igniting fires, the group responded by saying that animals don't have allegiances to nations.

    PETA responded to the netizen after being shown images of the dead falcon shared on social media by Stand With Us, a nonprofit pro-Israel education and advocacy organization based in Los Angeles, California.

    "As human beings, every one of us at PETA is concerned about human civilians, children, and anyone else caught in the line of fire of any conflict," the organization said in a tweet. "As an animal-protection organization, PETA notes that animals claim allegiance to no nation, don't choose sides, and can only rely on human beings to show them mercy, and it is unacceptable to use them as weapons of war."

    ​Images of the incident first surfaced on social media on Monday after they were published by the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit within the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

    In its tweet, COGAT stated that an employee from the National Parks Authority made the discovery near the Gaza Strip after extinguishing some 15 fires ignited "by incendiary materials flown from Gaza into Israel."

    "Apparently it's not enough to destroy nature with kites, now falcons are being used for terror as well," it added, hinting at the practice of Gazans allegedly purposefully sending kites and balloons tied to flammable materials across the border to start fires.

    According to the Times of Israel, if this was done deliberately, it would mark the first time that Gazans have used birds to carry out such acts. Aside from kites and balloons, Israel has previously accused Gazans of using drones and helium-filled condoms for similar purposes.

    This is not the first time flying animals have been used as weapons of war, or to start fires. In World War II, the United States explored the use of bats equipped with small, timed firebombs to light Japanese towns ablaze, releasing them from airplanes overhead in the hopes they would roost in the rafters of wooden structures in the towns below, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

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