Six-year-old boy fatally mauled by lion at zoo in the Gaza Strip
A young boy named Hamada Iqtiet was killed by a lion at a private zoo in the Gaza Strip on Monday.
According to an article published by The Times of Israel, Iqtiet was visiting Asdaa Park Zoo in southern Gaza with his family when the fatal mauling occurred.
Police spokesman Col. Ayman Al-Batniji said the boy climbed over a protective fence and reached an opening to the lion enclosure before being attacked.
Iqtiet’s family disputes this claim, saying he had only reached an outer fence to the enclosure when he was seized by the lion.
Local police, operated by Hamas, have temporarily closed the zoo while they complete an investigation.
Although this is the first known fatality, there have long been calls from animal rights activists to remove animals from zoos in the densely populated and economically deprived region.
Activists argue that privately run zoos in the war-torn area are dangerously ill-equipped to care for animals, with inadequate food and access to medical care.
Global animal welfare organizations have undertaken numerous missions to relocate animals, particularly lions, to secure sanctuaries abroad.
In 2019, a US animal welfare organization called Four Paws evacuated 47 animals from the Gaza Strip.
The tragic death of Hamada Iqtiet highlights the desperate need for more evacuation missions to ensure the safety of people and animals in Gaza.