On Monday, Hamas operatives raiding the hideout of a notorious drug ring stumbled upon a lion stolen at riflepoint two years ago from the Gaza Zoo, said a force commander, Abu Hamam al-Deeb. But she was malnourished, missing four teeth, claws and part of her tail, a veterinarian said.
The operatives found the 2-year-old lion - as well as drugs and a weapons cache that were the target of the raid - after exchanging fire with the gunmen, al-Deeb said.
Sabrina at the Gaza zoo (Photo: AP)
Sabrina was brought back to the Gaza Zoo and reunited with her brother, Sakher, who had avoided capture by resisting the gunmen. The two playfully swatted each other in the face and chased each other. When a zoo guard tried to pet Sabrina, Sakher crouched as if ready to pounce on him.
Sabrina had last been seen during a recent Muslim holiday at a Gaza photography studio where her captors charged about a dollar for a picture with the lion.
Sabrina and Sakher were bought from Egypt soon after their birth in 2005. The zoo had been closed for years but reopened in October 2005 after Israel's withdrawal from the coastal strip.