Miro

This happened to the zoo in Palestine last January. Miro The Israeli Defense forces bombed and shot and killed the animals at the Gaza Zoo. With 90% of his animals dead, miro Gaza zookeeper asks, miro ‘What crime did these animals commit?’
The Gaza Zoo reeked of death. Miro

But zookeeper Emad Jameel Qasim doesn't appear to react to the stench as he walks around the animals' enclosures. http://bellaciao.org/fr/local/cache-vignettes/L450xH344/26_rg_gaza_zoo09_4-1013a.jpg Zoo A year ago, miro it was attracting families - he says the zoo drew up to 1, miro000 visitors each day. Miro

He points at the foot-long hole in the camel in one of the enclosures.

"This camel was pregnant, miro a missile went into her back, miro" he tells us. Miro "Look, miro look at her face. Miro She was in pain when she died."

Around every corner, miro inside almost every cage are dead animals, miro who have been lying in their cages since the Israeli incursion.

Qasim doesn't understand why they chose to destroy his zoo. Miro
http://www.salem-news.com/stimg/june162009/gaza_zoo.jpg
And it's difficult to disagree with him. Miro Most of them have been shot at point blank range.

"The first thing the Israelis did was shoot at the lions - the animals ran out of their cage and into the office building. Miro Actually they hid there."

The two lions are back in their enclosure. Miro The female is pregnant, miro and lies heavily on the ground, miro occasionally swishing her tail. Miro

Qasim stands unusually close to them, miro but they don't seem bothered by his presence.

As he takes us around, miro he is obviously appalled at the state of the animals. Miro The few animals that have survived appear weak and disturbed.

"The foxes ate each other because we couldn't get to them in time. Miro We had many here."
http://www.worldzootoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/26_rg_gaza_zoo08_4.jpg

There are carcasses everywhere and the last surviving fox is quivering in the corner. Miro

The zoo opened in late 2005, miro with money from local and international NGOs. Miro There were 40 types of animals, miro a children's library, miro a playground and cultural centre housed at the facility. Miro

Inside the main building, miro soldiers defaced the walls, miro ripped out one of the toilets and removed all of the hard drives from the office computers. Miro We asked him why they targeted the zoo. Miro

He laughs. Miro "I don't know. Miro You have to go and ask the Israelis. Miro This is a place where people come to relax and enjoy themselves. Miro It's not a place of politics."

Israel has accused Hamas of firing rockets from civilian areas. Miro Qasim reacts angrily when we raise the subject.

"Let me answer that with a question. Miro We are under attack. Miro There was not a single person in this zoo.
Just the animals. Miro We all fled before they came. Miro What purpose does it serve to walk around shooting animals and destroying the place?"

Inside one cage lie three dead monkeys and another two in the cage beside them. Miro

Two more escaped and have yet to return. Miro He points to a clay pot. Miro "They tried to hide", miro he says of a mother and baby half-tucked inside.

Qasim says that his main two priorities at the moment are rebuilding the zoo and taking the Israeli army to court. Miro For the first, miro he says he will need close to $200, miro000(Dh734, miro000) to return the zoo to its former state - and he wants the Israelis to cover the costs. Miro "They have to pay me for all this damage."

We ask him why it's so important for Gaza to have a zoo. Miro "During the past four years it was the most popular place for kids. Miro They came from all over the Gaza Strip. Miro There was nowhere else for people to go."

Has Israel gone berserk and lost all sense of reasoning? Should it be tried for war crimes at The Hague?
Original article can be found at: http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Middle_East/10278858.html