Saudi Arabia on Sunday condemned in the strongest terms the extremist remarks by an Israeli government minister regarding dropping a nuclear bomb on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The kingdom’s foreign ministry said such remarks show the penetration of “extremism and brutality among members of the Israeli government.”
“Moreover, not dismissing the minister and only freezing his membership constitutes the utmost disregard for all human standards and values,” it added.
On Sunday Heritage Minister Amichay Eliyahu was suspended from government meetings “until further notice” after suggesting in an interview dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
Eliyahu, an ultranationalist politician and part of Netnayahu’s ruling coalition, told Israel’s Kol Barama radio he was not entirely satisfied with the scale of Israel’s retaliation after Hamas fighters carried out a deadly attack on Oct. 7 inside southern Israel.
When the interviewer asked whether the Israeli minister advocated dropping “some kind of atomic bomb” on the Gaza Strip “to kill everyone,” Eliyahu replied: “That’s one option.”
Netanyahu’s office quickly responded to the minister’s remarks, issuing a statement in which it described them as “disconnected from reality,” adding that Israel was trying to spare “non-combatants” in Gaza.
Eliyahu was also suspended from government meetings “until further notice,” Netanyahu’s office said, stressing that Israel was seeking to spare “”non-combatants.”
Following the outcry over his remarks Eliyahu later said in a post on X that his statement about the atomic bomb was “metaphorical.”
Israel has never admitted to having a nuclear bomb.
The Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, Israeli officials say.
Israel’s military campaign in Gaza since Oct. 7 has killed 9,488 people, most of them women and children, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says.