‘Tachtouch’ returns to Lebanon after monkeying around in Israel

A Lebanese monkey who breached the border with Israel was returned to its owner on Friday by United Nations peacekeepers after cavorting for more than a week in enemy territory.

Tachtouch escaped late last month, prompting its owner Beatrice Mauger who runs a peace project in southern Lebanon to launch an appeal on Facebook.

“Please Tachtouch come back to Ark of Peace!” she wrote on June 1, with a promise that the village children would hand out bananas as a reward.

The maverick monkey caused a stir after it was spotted swinging from balconies in Northern Israel near Ziri’t and Hurfesh, after crossing a heavily militarised border.

It had evaded capture for over a week.

“We have captured the Lebanese monkey in good health,” the Yodfat Monkey Forest in northern Israel said on Facebook late on Thursday.

The capture took five days of stalking by three women with “determination, love and faith”, the post said, including a video of the three sitting with the monkey in a cage in the boot of a car.

The return voyage across the fortified border had to be undertaken with help from the UN’s peacekeeping force UNIFIL.

An Israeli army spokesman told AFP earlier in the day the monkey was “handed over to United Nations forces to be returned to its owners in Lebanon”.

Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000 but the two states remain technically at war.

The UN deployment is supposed to monitor the border area between the two states as well as the ceasefire.

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