March 27, 2007 / 12:21 PM / 12 years ago

New kind of crocodile belt?

One-week-old saltwater crocodiles are held during feeding time at Sydney's Taronga Zoo in this April 18, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/David Gray

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Palestinian woman wearing a strangely bulging robe was caught at the Gaza-Egypt border trying to smuggle three baby crocodiles strapped to her waist, an official said Monday.

The reptiles, their jaws tied shut, were apparently bound for a Gaza zoo, said Maria Telleria, a spokeswoman for European observers who run the Rafah crossing.

“She looked strangely fat,” Telleria said, explaining why the woman was ordered by a policewoman to submit to a search as she tried to enter Gaza from Egypt Thursday.

Surprised by the three crocodiles, the policewoman screamed, other guards raced to the scene and the reptiles were eventually turned over to authorities on the Egyptian side of the border, Telleria said by telephone.

“Two months ago, we had people who tried to cross with baby lions in their suitcases, and we have had many incidents in which travelers attempted to smuggle in exotic birds,” the spokeswoman said.

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