Birds Of Prey Fitted With Trackers Helping Israel Locate Hamas Attack Victims
Eagles, vultures and other carrion-eating birds are helping the Israeli army locate corpses around sites of the October 7 attack by Hamas, said Ohad Hatzofe of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority. He heads a project that tracks endangered Griffon vultures and other birds of prey.
Data from the birds fitted with tracking devices has played a role in the search for human remains. The idea came from Eitan, a unit within the Israeli army’s human resources branch which is responsible for locating missing soldiers.
Birds Of Prey’s Notable Role In Search For Victims
“They asked me if my birds could help with something,” Hatzofe noted. The programme he is involved in has tagged hundreds of birds with GPS trackers to study their migratory patterns, the environmental threats they encounter as well as their feeding habits.
On October 23, a rare sea eagle was found near Beeri, just outside the Gaza Strip. “I sent my data,” said Hatzofe, adding the army went there to verify the information and recovered four bodies. Beeri has lost at least 85 residents in the surprise Hamas attack.
October 7 saw scores of Hamas militants storm across the highly militarised border to carry out the worst attack on Israel since its creation in 1948. According to Israeli authorities, the assault claimed more than 1,400 lives, mostly civilians. Roughly 240 people were also taken hostage.
In retaliation, Israel unleashed a relentless bombardment and ground invasion on Gaza. According to the Hamas-run health ministry in the Palestinian enclave, the retaliatory strikes have killed more than 10,500 people, also mostly civilians.
Preventing Re-emergence Of A Hamas-like Entity
Almost a month since the assault, Israeli police on Monday said they had identified bodies of 843 civilians and 351 soldiers. Dozens of others listed as missing have not been traced or identified. Hatzofe said a Bonelli’s eagle has helped recover “other bodies inside Israel.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has said his country does not seek to conquer, occupy or govern Gaza after its war against the militants, but a “credible force” would be needed to enter the territory if necessary to “prevent the re-emergence of a Hamas-like entity”.