A crocodile that has been roaming the pipes of the sewer basins network in the besieged Gaza Strip has been captured, according to Bregadier General Mohammed Abu Sissi, a police officer.
"We have been chasing the crocodile to catch it before it grows more and becomes a real threat for civilians. We have used all possibilities including fishermen and civil defence men to catch it alive. We could have sniped it but we preferred to catch it alive and bring it back to the nearby zoo where it fled from," Abu Sissi said.
The crocodile, whose length is estimated at 1.7m, has been living in the sewage network for two years according to Rajab al-Ankah, head of the Northern Gaza Sewage Station.
“The crocodile escaped from one of the nearby zoos called Bissan and sought refuge in the sewers,” al-Ankah said, adding that it escaped capture several times.
“The nets were set up to capture the crocodile, but it managed to escape. The slippery ground in the area around the swamps near Beit Lahia in northern Gaza made the escape easier and the crocodile disappeared once more.”
According to local residents, the crocodile used to come out of the sewage basins to look for food then disappeared quickly for fear of being captured.
“It came as a baby and now it is huge and the more it grows the more dangerous it becomes for the residents of the area and their livestock,” al-Ankah said.
One of the farmers in Beit Lahia had already reported that the crocodile ate two of his goats when they were grazing near one of the sewage basins.
This raised concerns about the possibility of the crocodile attacking human beings in the future if it was not captured shortly.