Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended a right-wing Israeli minister until “further notice” after he suggested dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza was “an option”.
Speaking in a radio interview, Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Amichay Eliyahu, an ultranationalist politician who is a member of Netnayahu’s ruling coalition, said he was not entirely satisfied with the the scale of Israeli reprisals since the massacre of October 7.
The attacks killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials, and more than 240 Israeli and foreign hostages were taken hostage by Hamas.
The far-right minister told Israeli radio Kol Barama that “there are no non-combatants in Gaza,” adding that providing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip would be “a failure.”
When asked if – since there are no non-combatants according to him – a nuclear attack to “kill everyone” in the Gaza Strip is an option, Eliyahu replied, “It is a way.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office quickly responded to the minister’s remarks, issuing a statement calling them “out of touch with reality,” adding that Israel and the IDF act in accordance with international law to avoid harm to non-combatants.
Benjamin Netanyahu suspended right-wing Israeli minister until ‘further notice’ after suggesting dropping nuclear bomb on Gaza was ‘an option’
Speaking in a radio interview, Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Amichay Eliyahu said he was not entirely satisfied with the scale of Israeli retaliation since the October 7 massacre.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office quickly responded to the minister’s remarks
In a follow-up question about the approximately 240 hostages held in Gaza, Eliyahu said that “in war we pay a price.”
“Why are the lives of the hostages… more important than those of the soldiers?” he said.
Following the outcry over his comments, Eliyahu said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that his statement about the atomic bomb was “metaphorical.”
He also said Israel was “determined to do everything possible to return the hostages safe and sound.”
Following the outcry over his remarks, Eliyahu later said in an article on X that his statement about the atomic bomb was “metaphorical.”
Later Sunday morning, Netanyahu’s office announced that Eliyahu had been suspended from government meetings until further notice.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid called for the minister’s departure.
“The presence of radicals in the government endangers us and the goals of the war – defeating Hamas and returning all the hostages,” Lapid wrote on X, adding that Netanyahu “must fire (Eliyahu) this morning.”
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the Otzma Yehudit party to which Eliyahu belongs, said he spoke to the minister who, in turn, clarified that he was speaking “metaphorically.”
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also lashed out at security of Israel.
The Forum of Families of Hostages and Missing Persons, which represents relatives of those taken to Gaza by Hamas militants, criticized Eliyahu’s “reckless and cruel” statement.
“International law, as well as the fundamental principles of human morality and common sense, strictly prohibit the use of weapons of mass destruction,” he said in a statement, calling for the release of all hostages .
Israel has never admitted to having a nuclear bomb.
Netanyahu faced tensions within his government after an extraordinary row erupted within his war cabinet after the prime minister appeared to blame security and intelligence officials for failing to spot the signs indicating that Hamas’ devastating invasion was imminent.
Netanyahu, who faced anger from the opposition and Israeli border communities over security lapses before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, made the accusations in a post he later deleted and replaced with an apology.
It revealed apparent infighting within Israel’s emergency government after what was supposed to be a show of unity between Netanyahu, Defense Minister Gallant and Knesset member Benny Gantz.
War cabinet members issued a joint statement last night announcing the expansion of ground operations in Gaza and said the country was “more united than ever”, but Netanyahu’s comments shortly after sparked widespread backlash .
“Never, under any circumstances, was Prime Minister Netanyahu alerted to Hamas’s intention to launch a war,” read his now-deleted post on the prime minister’s account.
“On the contrary, all security officials, including the head of military intelligence and the head of the Shin Bet (Israeli’s internal security agency), believed that Hamas was deterred.
Israel continued brutal attack on Hamas overnight, with IDF planes hitting ‘terrorist base’
People search buildings destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on November 5, 2023 in Khan Yunis, Gaza
“This is the assessment that was repeatedly submitted to the prime minister and the (security) cabinet by all security officials and the intelligence community, until war broke out.”
The message was posted hours after Netanyahu gave a press conference on Saturday evening, during which he was asked if he had been warned of the danger of an attack.
It was removed Sunday morning and replaced a few minutes later.
“I was wrong,” he said in the new post.
“The things I said after the press conference should not have been said, and I apologize for that.
“I fully support all leaders of the security establishment. I support the Chief of Military Staff, as well as the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) commanders and soldiers who are on the front lines fighting for our country. Together we will win,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, after 30 days of war, Israel continued its brutal attack on Hamas overnight, with IDF planes hitting a “terrorist base”, troops fighting the militants “hand-to-hand” and dismantling part of it. of the group’s network of tunnels in northern Gaza.
Nearly a month after the worst attack in the country’s history, Israel, which sent troops into the narrow Palestinian territory last month, managed to hit “more than 2,500 terrorist targets” with “ground forces , air and naval,” the army announced on Sunday.
In a statement, it said soldiers on the ground were engaged in “close combat” as Israeli planes struck targets including a “Hamas military compound” at an undisclosed location overnight.
These dramatic clips clearly reveal the intensity of the battle currently raging between Israelis and Hamas in war-torn Gaza.
Video taken inside one of the 63-tonne APCs shows sweat glistening on the face of one of the crew members as gunshots outside can clearly be heard.
Palestinians search for victims in Magazi refugee camp in central Gaza
A video shared on IDF social media also showed that they had discovered one of the terrorist groups’ hidden tunnels, long considered a major security challenge, used in the past for smuggling and incursions into Israel, as well a serious obstacle to Israeli forces attempting to operate in Gaza.
“While Hamas prevents its civilians from reaching safety in southern Gaza, Hamas hides in its complex network of terrorist tunnels.
“IDF troops discovered several access points during operational activities in northern Gaza,” they posted on X in the early hours of Sunday.
More than 240 Israeli and foreign hostages were kidnapped by Hamas in the October 7 attack, officials say, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rebuffed truce proposals until the Islamist group releases them all .
Israel said Thursday it struck 12,000 targets across Gaza during the war, one of the fiercest bombing campaigns in recent memory.
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 9,480 Gazans, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli strikes and the intensifying ground campaign.