I want to hug this man:
UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said: “We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.
To return to the beginning of the article:
Word spread among the populace that UK troops had introduced strange man-eating, bear-like beasts into the area to sow panic.
But several of the creatures, caught and killed by local farmers, have been identified by experts as honey badgers.
Dr Ghazi Yaqub Azzam, deputy dean of Basra’s veterinary college, speculated that the badgers were being driven towards the city because of flooding in marshland north of Basra.
The honey badger, mellivora capensis, is a native of the area. This site http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2003/march/badger.htm has more information about the honey badger’s fearsome reputation, such as:
…labeled “the meanest animal in the world”. This is an animal that has an armoured personnel carrier named after it in the South African Defense Force, due to its tenacity and has attracted other superlatives in the popular press including “most fearless animal in the world’ in the 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of Records and “pound for pound the most powerful creature in Africa”.
Here’s a honey badger snarling: