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POLICE IN IRANIAN HOLY CITY BEHEAD 12,000 PIGEONS

Police in the Iranian holy city of Qom have beheaded 12,000 birds in a crackdown on the popular hobbies of pigeon rearing and racing, a Tehran newspaper said Thursday.

The daily Abrar gave no explicit reason for the slaughter but said "pigeon-flying on Qom rooftops has created some problems for families in recent years.""No pigeon flies in the Qom skies - 12,000 have been beheaded by the Qom police," it said.

The birds were collected from pigeon fanciers and bird shops in the city, the paper said.

Iran has many thousands of pigeon fanciers, but their hobby is often regarded as a pastime of idlers.