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Pair of newborn lion cubs die in Hamas-run zoo, a day after being named for missile, conflict

FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, African lion cubs, Fajer, right, and his sister, Sejeel, left, rest after feeding at Besan Zoo in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. Authorities said a pair of newborn lion cubs unveiled by Hamas as prized additions to the zoo in the Gaza Strip have died. Mohammad Abdel-Rahman, the acting manager of the Beit Lahiya zoo in northern Gaza, said Thursday the cubs died of an unspecified illness. He said the zoo’s staff was unable to save them because they lacked experience in caring for newborn cubs. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)

FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, African lion cubs, Fajer, right, and his sister, Sejeel, left, rest after feeding at Besan Zoo in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. Authorities said a pair of newborn lion cubs unveiled by Hamas as prized additions to the zoo in the Gaza Strip have died. Mohammad Abdel-Rahman, the acting manager of the Beit Lahiya zoo in northern Gaza, said Thursday the cubs died of an unspecified illness. He said the zoo’s staff was unable to save them because they lacked experience in caring for newborn cubs. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)  (The Associated Press)

Gaza authorities say two newborn lion cubs just unveiled by Hamas as prized additions in a zoo they run have died.

Mohammad Abdel-Rahman, the acting manager of the Beit Lahiya zoo in northern Gaza, said Thursday the cubs died of an unspecified illness. He said 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.

Gaza zoos have a spotty animal welfare record.