Middle East

Lion cubs born in Gaza zoo die two days after birth

Two lion cubs
Image caption The birth of Fajr and Sajel was announced earlier this week

Two lion cubs born in a zoo in the Gaza Strip have died just two days after they were born.

The cubs, Fajr and Sajel, were the first to be born in the Bissan zoo in Beit Lahia after their parents were smuggled in four years ago.

The zoo's manager said staff were inexperienced in caring for them and could not get vaccines from Egypt due to the blockade on the territory.

Gaza is largely dependent on external aid and smuggling for supplies.

Food and other supplies are hard to come by and power and fuel shortages are a common occurrence in Gaza.

Symbolic names

The cubs were born days after the anniversary of last year's conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Earlier this week, Hamas announced the births and that the cubs bore names symbolising the conflict.

Fajr, meaning "dawn", was the name of the rockets fired by Hamas into Israel while Sajel is the name Hamas gave to their campaign.

The cubs' parents were smuggled into the territory four years ago from Egypt using the underground tunnel system used to bring supplies into Gaza.

After the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's new military-backed government has moved to clamp down on smuggling into Gaza.

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