The owner of a dilapidated Gaza zoo is blaming stormy weather for the death of four lion cubs.
Fathi Jumaa said Thursday that he covered the cage of the day-old lions with blankets ahead of Wednesday's winter storm, but found them dead the next morning at the small zoo in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.
Most of the animals in the zoo were smuggled into Gaza from Egypt via underground tunnels a few years ago, before the Egyptian military destroyed the tunnels running beneath the border.
The wintry weather sweeping the region has made it especially hard for animals that lack proper care.
International animal care groups have carried out several evacuation missions in recent years to relocate animals and birds in poor condition to sanctuaries outside Gaza.