Sudanese officials are claiming they’ve captured a vulture deployed to their country on an Israeli spy mission. Nabbed in Kereinek, a town in Sudan’s Darfur region, the bird was outfitted with a GPS chip and capable of capturing and broadcasting images via satellite, as well as identification tags emblazoned with “Israeli Nature Service” and “Hebrew University, Jerusalem,” according to its Sudanese captors.

Israel, for its part, is claiming the bird was tagged as a part of routine migration research, and that it does not actually equipped with any cameras. “This equipment that can give out distance and altitude readings only,” Israeli ecologist Ohad Hafoze told the website Ynet. “That’s the only way we knew something had happened to the bird – all of a sudden it stopped flying and started traveling on the ground.”

Though Sudan and Israel’s relationship is testy enough to warrant the avian spying, the research story seems likely enough, and this isn’t the first time accusations like these have been made against the country–only to be recanted later. Last year, Saudi Arabia found an Israeli bird on its soil that it claimed was part of a “Zionist plot,” then backpedaled and accepted Israel’s claims that it was part of a scientific study.

(Photo: Kitty Terwolbeck/Flickr)