Truth Frequency Radio
Nov 23, 2013

baby-lion-cubs-gaza-palestine-dead-truth-frequency-radio-chris-geo-sheree-geo-alternative-media-news-informationBy FARES AKRAM, NYT

GAZA — The military wing of Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza, hailed the birth of two lion cubs at a zoo here this week as a triumph over the proverbial hardships of life in this Palestinian coastal enclave.

But the jubilation was short-lived. The cubs, whose parents were smuggled through underground tunnels from Egypt, died Thursday in the Hamas-run Bissan Zoo in Beit Lahiya, a town in northern Gaza.

The cubs, Fajr, a male, and Sijil, a female, became symbols of resistance as soon as they were named. Fajr, Arabic for dawn, is a reference to the long-range rockets that Hamas has fired into Israel; Sijil, which means stones of clay, is the name Hamas gave to the cross-border conflict with Israel. “A symbol of beauty, power and strength recently born in the besieged #Gaza Strip,” the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said on Twitter on Tuesday, a day after the births.

Zoo officials gave several possible reasons the baby lions — said to be the first to have been born in the often gritty conditions of Gaza — failed to survive.

First, their mother, an African lioness smuggled in along with the father in 2008, refused to feed the cubs. Instead, the zookeepers bottle-fed them regular milk. Then on Tuesday an Israeli warplane dropped three bombs on an Islamic Jihad training base in northern Gaza, not far from the zoo, causing the lioness to panic and step on her offspring, according to Nasim Abu Safia, 29, who is in charge of feeding the animals at the zoo.

The Israeli military said it had struck several sites in Gaza in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at soldiers near the border earlier that day.

Finally, Mr. Safia said, the cubs could not stand the November chill, and the zoo did not have the facilities to properly shelter them. “We tried as much as possible to save their lives and keep them alive,” he said, “but it was out of our hands and beyond our capabilities.”

The cubs were born healthy, Mr. Safia said, each weighing about 3.5 pounds. He added that it was their mother’s first litter.

There are about a dozen private or Hamas-run zoos in the Gaza Strip. At one, workers reportedly once tried to transform two donkeys into zebras by applying stripes of hair dye. In another zoo in the southern town of Rafah along the Egyptian border, dead animals have been stuffed and put on display.