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January 27, 2017 1:26 pm

Curious Israelis Chase Away Herd of Sharks Seen Off Mediterranean Coast

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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A view from the air of the sharks off the coast of Hadera. Photo: Israel Police.

A view from the air of the sharks off the coast of Hadera. Photo: Screenshot.

A herd of around 150 sharks that arrived off the Mediterranean coast near the Israeli city of Hadera earlier this week has been chased away by curious divers and boaters who ignored a warning to stay away from the area, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Friday.

However, the report said, the sandbar and dusky sharks could return after predicted stormy weather this weekend, drawn to the spot by hot water emptied into the sea by the Hadera power plant.

“Encounters with sharks are uncontrollable and can endanger both the divers and the sharks,” the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) said in its warning issued on Monday, adding that sharks are an endangered species and protected by law as such. “This means it is forbidden to harm, disturb, feed or do anything else to them without risking criminal prosecution.”

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Those words of caution, however, did not deter thousands of Israelis from coming to the area to try to get an up-close look at the sharks.

Moshe Mittelman, an amateur photographer whose drone video of the sharks went viral, told nrg, “The rocks were flooded with adults and kids who came to see them and divers and boats disturbed the sharks so they disappeared. These sharks are not violent, but they are also not poodles. I don’t want it to end bad, with harm coming to either the sharks or humans. If I had known the video would cause such a stir, I would not have made it.”

Mittelman’s video can be seen below:

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