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Monday, July 9, 2007

Sabrina is Free!!!!

Sometimes you just need some news that doesn't fit in with the norm.

Hamas returns kidnapped lioness to zoo in Gaza City
Zoo staff say Sabrina has begun playing with her brother Sakher.

Zoo staff say Sabrina has begun playing with her brother Sakher. (AFP: Mohammed Abed)

By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
Published: 10 July 2007

Five days after securing the release of Alan Johnston, the BBC's Gaza correspondent, Hamas yesterday freed another kidnap victim - Sabrina, a lioness stolen at gunpoint in 2005 from a private zoo in Gaza.

The Islamic movement's executive force found the big cat, minus four teeth, claws and part of her tail, during a raid on a notorious local crime family. After an exchange of fire, the force commander, Abu Hamam al-Deeb, said they also seized drugs and weapons.

Sabrina, who normally eats four kilos of meat a day, was returned to the zoo undernourished and bedraggled. She was reunited with her mate, Sakher. The two lions, brought to Gaza from Egypt as cubs two years ago, were soon sparring and chasing each other around their cage as if they had never been parted.

The zoo's owner, Saoud al-Shawwa, told reporters: "We will start a long, arduous treatment to ensure she can survive. She will only eat minced meat from now on, so we feel sorry for her.

They should punish the criminals who did this."

Hamas acted after a local arts and cultural society named the thieves. It lodged a complaint after the lioness was spotted in a Gaza photography studio during a Muslim holiday. Her captors were said to be charging about 50 pence for people to have their picture taken with her.

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