Animal welfare aside, Gaza's main zoo recently turned to improvised taxidermy to keep its deceased animals on exhibit.
The area also continues to be violent. As circus technicians were setting up their tent earlier this week, Palestinian militants were fighting Israeli forces in tit-for-tat rounds of rocket fire and retaliatory airstrikes.
Egyptian technician Khalil Gomaa, 55, jolted upon every crashing boom. He told his children he was in Jordan so they wouldn't be worried. "But I'm worried," he said.
But the circus' biggest challenge may be packing the 1,000-seater tent for the month-long visit.
A series of Palestinians interviewed didn't know what a circus was, and the tickets — ranging from $5-$10 seats — are too expensive for most of Gaza's traditionally large families.
Some 40 percent of Gazans live on less than $2 a day, a third are unemployed and most need U.N. donated food.
They include the mother of eight, Sabrine Baoud, and her unemployed husband. After the circus was explained to her, Baoud, 35, said she was glad her children didn't know anything about it.
They'd never be able to afford to go.
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