President Isaac Herzog revealed in an interview with Sky News that Hamas had plans to use cyanide agents against Israeli civilians.
Herzog showed material recovered from a USB drive on the body of a Hamas terrorist who infiltrated into Israel on October 7, which was copied from al-Qaeda and included “detailed instructions on creating chemical weapons,” including “precise instructions for preparing a device for dispersing cyanide agents,” the President’s Office said.
“This is material which was found on the body of one of those sadistic villains. It’s al-Qaeda material, official al-Qaeda material,” Herzog told the TV network. “When dealing with ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Hamas, this is what we’re dealing with. And in this material, there were instructions, how to produce chemical weapons.”
Among the other disturbing items found on gunmen who rampaged across southern communities two weeks ago were Islamic State flags, documents detailing extensive plans to target an elementary school and a youth center and kill as many people as possible, as well as manuals with instructions on how to torture and kidnap those they found.
War erupted after the onslaught, in which some 2,500 terrorists broke through the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip in a multipronged assault. Gunmen slaughtered some 1,400 people and seized at least 212 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.
The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.
President Isaac Herzog on Sky News reveals materials found on a USB fob on the body of a Hamas terrorist in Israel with "instructions how to produce chemical weapons" including preparing a device for dispersing cyanide agents. pic.twitter.com/NcZePRn8Ia
— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) October 22, 2023
Additionally Sunday, the president met with relatives of those abducted by terrorists to the Gaza Strip, vowing to do everything he could to bring their loved ones home.
Herzog on Sunday told families whose loved ones are held hostage in Gaza that Israel is doing everything it can to bring them back.
Some 80 families were represented at the 90-minute meeting, which included the president and his wife, Michal Herzog.
“We’re here to help, to embrace, to strengthen, to support and to think together about solutions,” Herzog told the group, according to his office. “We have a national challenge, and it’s an enormous challenge. It requires us to act calmly and responsibly.”
The president added: “We want to bring your loved ones home, soon — that’s the challenge.”
Herzog said that, “as the president of Israel, I pledge to you to do everything to bring your loved ones home — that is the top goal from my perspective.”
According to the statement, families expressed their distress over the lack of information on the abductees and demanded that all efforts be made to return them home safely.
Several hundred supporters stood outside Herzog’s official residence in Jerusalem, waiting for representatives of the families of those missing and held captive.
“They must return our daughters to us, we entrusted them to you,” said the father of Roni Eshel, a soldier at the Nahal Oz base who is believed to be held hostage. “I’m calling to the only person, to the prime minister, you drafted them and you need to bring them home.”
In a glimmer of hope for hostages, Judith Raanan and her daughter Natalie — dual Israeli-American nationals kidnapped from Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7 — were released by Hamas on Friday night. The exact mechanism of the transfer was not clear. Hamas claimed that the release was made “for humanitarian reasons.”
The step was widely viewed in Israel as a public relations gambit, with Hamas interested in somewhat rehabilitating its image.
A Hamas spokesperson known as Abu Obeida claimed Saturday the group had offered to release two more hostages the next day under the same procedures, but that Israel refused to accept the offer.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office later said, “We won’t respond to Hamas’s propaganda lies.”
Following the brutal massacre on October 7, Israel launched an offensive it says is aimed at destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, that rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.
Several reports have suggested the White House is pressuring Israel to delay a widely expected ground incursion into Gaza in order to allow for the possibility of negotiations to release further hostages.