A six-year-old boy was mauled to death by a lion after he crawled into its zoo enclosure.

Hamada Iqtiet climbed the fence surrounding the animal’s cage at the Asdaa Park zoo in Gaza, Palestine.

Horrific images, which Metro has not published, show the boy being mauled by the lion after he appeared to get stuck between the railing.

Others show bloodstains around the bars of the cage.

Police say that Hamada climbed through the protective fence before he was attacked.

But the boy’s family disputed the account, saying Hamada had only reached an outer fence where the lion was standing.

The park has been closed until the police investigation is complete.

The attack has renewed calls for the area’s numerous private zoos to be closed, as the animals cannot be properly cared for in the impoverished Palestinian territory.

The animals are reportedly kept in deplorable conditions and have suffered from repeated fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

This has led to neglect, starvation and lack of medical care.

Although animal rights welfare groups have carried out several rescues, many animals still remain in the strip that is home to some two million people.

In August a man was killed by a lion after he scaled its enclosure at Accra Zoo in Ghana.

Security guards noticed the middle-aged man had climbed the tall mesh fence and got inside.

A lion, a lioness and two cubs lived in the enclosure.

Zoo authorities managed to coax the animals to a secure area so they could go into the enclosure and recover the body.

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