Jerusalem, 5 December, 2023 (TPS) — Hamas drugged Israeli hostages before freeing them, “to make them look happy,” a Health Ministry official told a Knesset panel on Tuesday.
Dr. Hagar Mizrahi, head of the Health Ministry’s medical division, testified to the Knesset Health Committee that the captives were given a tranquilizer which she identified as Clonazepam sometime before they were handed over to Red Cross custody.
Clonazepam is commonly used to treat certain types of seizure and panic disorders. Normally administered orally, the drug has a calming effect on the nervous system. Side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, impaired coordination, and fatigue.
In some places, it is sold by the name Klonopin or Rivotril.
Long-term use or misuse of the medication can lead to dependency, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms.
Mizrahi did not indicate whether this was based on blood tests, testimonies of the hostages or both.
Committee chairman MK Yoni Meshariki called on the ministry to send an official report with detailed findings and evidence to other health organizations around the world.
Eighty-one Israelis along with 23 Thais and one Filipino were freed in a prisoner exchange during a temporary ceasefire.
Hamas currently holds 137 men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners captive in Gaza.
At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.