MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. The suggestion by Israel's heritage minister of a nuclear strike on the Gaza Strip has raised numerous questions, including whether Israel possesses nuclear weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Solovyov Live television.
"It raised a huge number of questions. The number one question is, did we hear an official declaration that [Israel] has nuclear weapons? Consequently, the next questions that everyone had were: Where are the international organizations, where is the IAEA, where are the inspectors?" she said.
Zakharova also said that such statements by Israeli officials shed light on the true reasons why Tel Aviv is opposing the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. According to the diplomat, the US made every effort to help Israel acquire nuclear weapons, giving it full support in this matter.
"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.
Israel’s Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu was asked in an interview with Kol Berama Radio on November 5 whether a nuclear bomb should be dropped on Gaza and responded that it was one of the possibilities. The official later said that the nuclear bomb statement was metaphorical, but Israel definitely needs a powerful and disproportionate response to terrorism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended Eliyahu from government meetings and criticized his remarks about the possibility of using nuclear weapons in Gaza.
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. Israel has declared a complete siege of the Gaza Strip and has started delivering strikes on that area and parts of Lebanon and Syria. Clashes are also taking place in the West Bank.