GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories- The lions sit dazed in the shade of their damaged pen, while nearby the decayed carcases of two vervet monkeys lie contorted on the grass of a Gaza zoo.
The animals were caught in the crossfire in over a month of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants that killed more than 1,960 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side.
In one enclosure at the zoo a fly-covered pelican huddles in the corner with a duck.Opposite, a small crocodile sits motionless in an inch of stagnant water, next to the rotting corpse of a stork.
A gazelle shares another pen with a goose.
Around the corner, a baboon picks listlessly at the ground of the tiny pen it shares with the dried-out remains of another monkey.
Everywhere, there is a sickly stench from the animals’ cages, which have not been cleaned for weeks.
Shadi Hamad, the park’s director, said the zoo was damaged and that the animals died as a result of Israeli air strikes.
An Israeli army spokesman told AFP that the military was looking into allegations that it fired missiles in the Al-Bisan park area.