updated 3/8/2011 10:56:04 AM ET 2011-03-08T15:56:04

A Turkish zoo says a tiger severed a lion's jugular vein when it stuck its paw through a narrow gap in a door dividing their cages.

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The zoo in the Turkish capital of Ankara issued a statement Monday to deny media reports that the tiger bent iron bars to attack the lion and tear it into pieces in the attack on Sept. 4.

It said the tiger had squeezed its front leg through the door, and in a single stroke left the lion dying in a pool of blood.

It was not clear why the death of one of the three lions in the zoo was publicized so late.

Six tigers remain in an enclosure at the zoo, which insists that it is safe for visitors.

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