The BBC is reporting that the British military is being blamed for a plague of ferocious badgers in and around the city of Basra. Apparently word has spread quickly among local residents that "man-eating, bear-like beasts" were released in order to sow panic.
A vicious honey badger hungry for jihadi blood, Mellivora capensis
Although several of the creatures caught and killed by farmers have been identified as honey badgers, an indigenous local species, that has not stopped widespread speculation that the British military was involved.
According to UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer, "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area." He continued, "We have been told these are indigenous nocturnal carnivores that don't attack humans unless cornered."
The director of Basra's veterinary hospital, Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, has inspected several of the animals' corpses. He told the AFP news agency: "These appeared before the fall of the regime in 1986. They are known locally as Al-Girta."
However, the locals remain skeptical. One housewife, Suad Hassan, claims she was attacked in bed as she slept. "My husband hurried to shoot it but it was as swift as a deer," she said. "It is the size of a dog but his head is like a monkey."