brawl in gaza 298 .
(photo credit: AP [file])
Masked gunmen raided the only zoo in the Gaza Strip over the weekend and stole a lion - turning the animal into the latest victim of the continued state of lawlessness.
Zoo manager Saud al-Shawwa announced a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information that could help find the lion and a pair of parrots that were also stolen.
"Thousands of people visit the zoo and they will miss these animals, especially the lion," he said. "We have different species of animals here and we urge the Palestinian security forces to help us find the stolen animals."
Sources in Gaza City said at least four gunmen armed with Kalachnikov rifles broke into the zoo late at night. After they handcuffed the guard and locked him up in the cafeteria, the thieves first stole two white and grey parrots that speak a few words in Arabic.
The thieves managed to seize the lion after throwing a blanket over its head. Their attempt to capture a second lion failed after the animal showed fierce resistance.
"The whole operation lasted less than 30 minutes," Shawwa added. "The thieves must have visited the zoo before to examine the place. The zoo was officially opened two months ago."
The manager said it was unclear to him why anyone would want to steal a lion that consumes at least three kilograms of meat every day. "This lion can't be bought or sold [in the black market]," he noted.