Mohammad Abdel-Rahman, the acting manager of the Beit Lahiya zoo in northern Gaza, said Thursday the cubs died of an unspecified illness.
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According to Abdel-Rahman, the zoo's staff was unable to save them because they lacked experience in caring for newborn cubs.
Hamas unveiled the cubs – a male and a female – and named them for last year's war between Hamas militants and Israel. One was named Fajr after an Iranian-type missile used in the fighting. The other was called Sejil for the name of the campaign.
Their mother, a four-year-old African lioness, was smuggled into Gaza via tunnels from Egypt and the cubs were born less than a week after the first anniversary of the eight-day Pillar of Defense conflict between Hamas and Israel in November 2012.
Nahed al-Majdub, head of the "Bissan" amusement park, set up by the Hamas-run interior ministry said of their birth, "It is the first time lions have been born in the Gaza Strip."
Hamas's armed wing, the Izz ad-Din 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 two lions to draw a smile on faces of Gaza kids."
Gaza zoos have a spotty animal welfare record.
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