The US Air Force announced yesterday that they had accidentally shot down Santa Claus, claiming that he had fit the description of terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Said Department of Defence spokesman Major Sam Shuteall, "At 0300 hours yesterday morning, an unregistered airborne conveyance bearing a bearded gentleman with headgear was sighted flying over our air force outpost in the North Pole. Our radar detectors established that the aircraft had a large payload of unidentified objects on board. Two F-16 fighters were scrambled to intercept the aircraft, which was of unidentified make, with a glowing red nose-cone in the shape of a reindeer. After a brief radio exchange, the F-16s fired missiles at the craft, bringing it down."
As it turns out, the unidentified aircraft was carrying the personification of Christmas, Santa Claus, together with his reindeer.
Debris consisting of various toys and charred reindeer flesh was strewn over a three-mile radius of the point of contact.
Major Shutemall said the event was unfortunate, and blamed the poor audio quality of the radio exchange between the aircraft, leading to the fatal misunderstanding.
Major Shutemall then read the transcript from the cockpit voice recorder recovered from Santa's sleigh.
USAF: Identify your point of origin, over.
Unidentified Aircraft: Santa Claus, son.
USAF:Afghanistan? Identify your purpose. Over.
Unidentified Aircraft:My sleigh's been laden with Christmas presents.
USAF:Slaying with Bin Laden's terrorist agents? Shoot down the bastard!
End of exchange.
In the wake of the mistake, the USAF has dispatched a battalion of grief and trauma counselors armed with Toys 'R' Us vouchers to tend to distraught children all over the country.
Meanwhile, a group calling itself the Elf Avenging Army has declared war on the United States, pledging that all American children will receive only socks and underwear in their stockings this December.