(photo credit: REUTERS,JPOST STAFF)
The small northern German town of Quarnbek, population 1,800, was the center of a farcical encounter between two undercover Israeli agents, some mud, a suspicious old woman and a farmer's tractor last December.
Germany's The Local reported on Tuesday that the small town had sent the Israeli government a bill for €1,263 for the services of a tractor and the local fire service, after two reported Mossad agents were left stranded in a muddy field while on a covert operation at the end of last year.
The two men, thought to be from the fabled Israeli secret service, were tracking the movements of a newly-built German submarine on its first voyage to Israel. While tracking the sub they entered a muddy field, and attracted the attention of a suspicious pensioner.
The Israelis' excuse that they were innocently scouting the route of a future sailing regatta didn't hold with the elderly woman, who promptly called the police. Instead of stealthily slipping away, the two men found that their Ford Focus was stuck in the mud, and were forced to identify themselves to German authorities.
Not known for hogging the limelight, the agents would have been mortified when the local fire service and then a farmer with a tractor were called to pull them out of the sticky situation.
Mayor Klaus Langer was upset with the alleged conduct of the Israelis. "If they’d gone back to their embassy and said 'hey we messed up, we need to pay for this' and then sorted things out from their side, none of this publicity would have been necessary,” he told The Local,
showing perhaps more common sense than the purported spies had.
As of Tuesday, the Israeli embassy had not replied to the invoice.