Gaza’s Hamas-run authorities on Tuesday announced the birth of two lion cubs in the Palestinian enclave, named in honour of the last bout of fighting between the Islamists and Israel.
The cubs were born less than a week after the first anniversary of the eight-day conflict between Hamas and Israel in November 2012.
“The lioness gave birth yesterday (Monday) to two cubs, one male and one female,” said Nahed al-Majdub, head of the “Bissan” amusement park, set up by the Hamas-run interior ministry.
“They were named Fajr and Sijil,” said Majdub, Arabic for dawn and clay.
The names refer to the Fajr missiles Hamas fired at Israel in the conflict in November 2012 and the name the Palestinian Islamist movement gave to the fighting, “Operation Stones of Clay.”
“It is the first time lions have been born in the Gaza Strip,” Majdub said, adding that the cubs’ parents were imported from Egypt four years ago.
Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, congratulated itself on having smuggled the cubs’ parents past the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The group said on Twitter that “Despite Israel’s unjust siege, Palestinians managed to smuggle these 2 lions to draw a smile on faces of Gaza kids.”
More than 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed when hostilities erupted after an Israeli missile killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jaabari last November 14.