Tel Aviv, Israel: International condemnation has followed an attack by the Israeli air force on a flock of doves flying over Israeli airspace towards Gaza that is feared to have left many of the birds dead.
Humanitarian organisations and charities have expressed outrage, while many nations have demanded an explanation from their Israeli ambassadors. An emergency meeting of the United Nations security council has been convened to assess the situation.
A group of approximately thirty doves are believed to have been flying towards a nesting site within the Gaza strip when the events took place at approximately 8:40 local time.
An Israeli government spokesman has explained that the doves were "aggressive hawks of war and death" who had fired upon their jets first, leaving them no choice but to return fire. "This was clearly an act of self defence on the part of our courageous airmen in the face of extreme provocation by avian terrorists."
The United Nations special envoy to the region has questioned the Israeli version of events, explaining that "every wildlife expert we have spoken to has cast significant doubt upon the ability of doves to carry and operate artillery."