“Rats have become an Israeli weapon to displace and expel Arab residents of the occupied Old City of Jerusalem,” it said in a report. “Over the past two months, dozens of (Jewish) settlers come to the alleyways and streets of the Old City carrying iron cages full of rats. They release the rats, which find shelter in open sewage systems,” the report said.
In the first book of Samuel, the story is told of how the Philistines conquered the Israelites and captured the Ark of the Covenant. Shortly thereafter, the Philistines are struck down by a plague which Israel attributes to God. The Philistines have another idea and seek to end the plague by returning the Ark of the Covenant to Israel, and the plague went away. But along with the Ark, the Philistines sent 5 golden spheres, or "Buboes" representing the swollen glands of the plague, together with five gold statues of mice, a clear signal that the Philistines knew exactly what had been done to them and how.
This may be the oldest recorded instance of biological warfare in history, and the precedent for the rats being released in Old Jerusalem.