Russia has expressed concern over comments by Israeli Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu that seemed to entertain the notion of deploying nuclear arms in Gaza, sparking “a lot of questions,” according to Russian authorities.
Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, pointed out that Israel’s remarks could be an inadvertent acknowledgment of owning nuclear weapons—a subject on which Israel has historically maintained deliberate ambiguity.
“Are we now witnessing official acknowledgment of a nuclear arsenal?” Zakharova questioned, suggesting that the situation warrants scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“If this program exists and existed, where were the tests conducted, at what testing grounds? Obviously, apparently not in the region, then where? And isn’t the United States behind all this?” the diplomat said.
Following the controversial statements, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rebuked Eliyahu and indefinitely barred him from cabinet meetings.
Eliyahu’s remarks were condemned by several Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
The situation in the Middle East sharply escalated following an incursion of Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip into Israel on October 7, accompanied by killings of residents of Israeli settlements near the border and taking hostages.
Hamas regards the attack as a response to Israeli actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that the death toll from continuous Israeli airstrikes since October 7th has exceeded 10,000 casualties.
Ashraf al-Qudra, the ministry’s spokesperson, made this announcement during a press conference on Monday, marking the 31st day of the conflict.
Al-Qudra emphasized the urgent need for a safe humanitarian corridor to allow the entry of medical supplies, fuel, and medical delegations into Gaza.
He reiterated that the healthcare system in Gaza has become completely incapacitated and is experiencing complete paralysis.
Since the outbreak of the conflict triggered by an attack by Hamas on October 7th, Israel has been continuously bombarding the Gaza Strip.