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Israel-Palestine war: 'Chemical weapons manual' shown by Israeli president is biography of a bomber

Document Isaac Herzog said showed Hamas intended to stage a chemical weapons attack is an al-Qaeda biography of World Trade Center attacker Ramzi Yousef
Israeli President Isaac Herzog produces a page from the al-Qaeda document on Sky News (screengrab)
Israeli President Isaac Herzog produces a page from the al-Qaeda document on Sky News (screengrab)

A document presented by Israeli President Isaac Herzog as proof that Hamas intended to develop chemical weapons is actually an amateur biography of World Trade Center attacker Ramzi Yousef and contains no instructions on how to develop chemical weapons.

In an interview with Sky News, Herzog presented what he said was an "official" 2003 al-Qaeda manual that he claimed contained instructions on how to make chemical weapons.

He said the document was found on the body of one of the Hamas operatives who attacked southern Israel on 7 October and killed around 1,400 Israelis. Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed more than 5,000 Palestinians since. The majority of both tolls are civilians, many of them children.

"It's al-Qaeda material. Official al-Qaeda material. We are dealing with ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hamas. And in this material there were instructions on how to produce chemical weapons," Herzog said of the document.

"This is how shocking the situation is where we're looking at the instructions that are given on how to operate and how to create a kind of non-professional chemical weapon with cyanide."

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The document he presented is attributed to the "Supreme Paradise Brigades, one of the battalions of the International Islamic Front for Jihad on Jews and Crusaders" and is adorned with a logo associated with the Islamic State group.

Readily available on the internet, the 30-page book contains no instructions on how to make chemical weapons but makes reference to the Kuwait-born Yousef's life working for al-Qaeda, especially his role in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

The document, which is supportive of al-Qaeda and lauds Yousef as a hero, emphasises his "academic background in chemistry from Swansea University, which qualified him for his jihadist role later".

Another page from the document references the Bojinka Plan, which involved blowing up 11 planes en route from Asia to the United States in 1995, as well as assassinating the "crusader" Pope John Paul II.

At one point in the text, it states that "the use of phosgene gas was also studied, which is a chemical weapon twenty times more powerful than chlorine gas, which caused 70 percent of human casualties in the battles of World War I, and which kills its victim by paralysing the lungs".

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However, no further information on the production of the gas is given.

Yousef, whose real name is Abdul Basit Mahmoud Abdul Karim, is currently serving multiple life sentences in a prison in the US over his involvement in the 1993 bombing, which killed seven people.

Relations between Hamas, IS, and al-Qaeda has been complicated over the years, though the latter two organisations' opposition to Palestinian nationalism has generally driven an ideological wedge between them and Hamas.

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