British forces have denied rumours that they released a plague of ferocious badgers into the Iraqi city of Basra.
Word spread among the populace that UK troops had introduced strange man-eating, bear-like beasts into the area to sow panic.
But several of the creatures, caught and killed by local farmers, have been identified by experts as honey badgers.
The rumours spread because the animals had appeared near the British base at Basra airport.
UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said: "We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area."
I wouldn't be surprised if they had: President Bush’s “coalition of the willing” continues to disappear, with troops from Denmark and Lithuania making their coalition exit, and the Iraqis certainly haven't stepped up. If a battalion of freocious badgers were pressed into duty, I wouldn’t be surprised. We need something to agument the ”Coalition Of the Billing.”