Israeli custom officials made a surprising catch last week, stopping a Palestinian man who was attempting to smuggle over 40 goldfinches into Israel. The small birds were hidden within plastic bags tied to his legs and concealed underneath his pants.
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The man, from Nablus, was crossing into the West Bank from Jordan using the Allenby Bridge (also known as the King Hussein Bridge) when he raised the suspicions of custom officials. They asked that he step aside to undergo a body search, during which time no less than 40 goldfinches were found on his person.
The man and the birds were passed on to agriculture officials for further investigation. Wild goldfinches sell for anywhere between $40 and $130 a bird.
According to recent reports in Israel, the incident seems to be a recurring theme from the border with Jordan, were no less than two previous attempts to smuggle birds across were reportedly thwarted in recent weeks. According to Ynetnews, Palestinians were held twice in January for trying to smuggle goldfinches into Israel by concealing them on their legs.