Russia slams Israeli minister's nuclear 'option' remark
09/11/2023 22:19 in World News
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Russia on Thursday criticised "completely unacceptable" comments by Israeli Heritage Minister Amihay Eliyahu about the use of nuclear weapons in Gaza.
Eliyahu's comments, which he later retracted, sparked outrage and led to his suspension.
"We consider these statements provocative and completely unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
"Such statements imply that the entire population of the Gaza Strip is threatened by nuclear weapons.
Is this a genocidal threat?
"Eliyahu told Israeli radio station Kol Barama that he was not entirely satisfied with the scale of Israel's retaliation.
He responded to a question by saying that dropping some kind of atomic bomb would be "an option", but then said that his statement was "metaphorical".
Israel is widely known to possess nuclear weapons but has never admitted it.
"These statements not only clearly confirm that the country possesses such weapons but also demonstrate its readiness to seriously consider using them in completely inappropriate situations,” Zakharova said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin criticised the West for causing tensions in the region and Israel for its behaviour in the conflict.
The war began more than a month ago when Hamas militants entered Israel and killed about 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.
Promising to destroy Hamas, Israel responded with relentless bombing and a ground invasion that, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, has killed more than 10,800 people, including many children.