A little respite in the Gaza war zone was the Rafah zoo. The only contact most of the children had with live animals, even ordinary ones such as squirrels, goats and tortoises was at this small zoo.Among the zoo’s more popular exhibits were kangaroos, monkeys and ostriches, which the children had only seen on TV. But Israel would even crush this small light of hope.
On May 22, 2004, the IDF soldiers entered the Rafah zoo and shot most of the animals. After 10 minutes of shooting they demolished the two acre zoo with bulldozers.
The smell of dead animals hung over the camp.
Mr. Juma , the owner , said his loss was over $300,000.
In total, of 80 animals only 7 remained. One of the two pythons was gone, as well as two of three ostriches, the jaguars, foxes and wolves, he said.
One resident reported seeing an Army Capt. putting the zoo’s rare macaws in his jeep.In the rubble lay half buried ostriches, guinea fowl and ducks. Goats and a deer were shot in
Maj. Sharon Feingold, an Israeli Army spokeswoman, first explanation was a tank may have accidentally reversed into it. Later she acknowledged that Israeli forces had pushed through the zoo, but only because their initial route had been blocked by explosive charges laid by Palestinians.
Feingold and other Crimes in Rafah