Yahya Sinwar in Gaza, October 28th 2019
Yahya Sinwar in Gaza, October 28th 2019 Reuters

Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, the terrorist organization announced Tuesday.

Hamas stated that Sinwar, 58, is in good health and is continuing to lead the organization.

In April, Sinwar threatened that Israel would be "unable to breathe" if Gazans died from the coronavirus due to a lack of ventilators in the Strip.

In an interview with the Hamas Shehab News Agency reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Sinwar accused Defense Minister Naftali Bennett of a “Merchant of Venice mentality,” referring in skewed fashion to the Shakespeare play that has been accused of reinforcing anti-Semitic stereotypes.

"I would like to use this opportunity to say a couple of words to Zionist Defense Minister [Naftali] Bennett: I refer you to the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 17, to read what awaits you, and what awaits your filthy [Zionist] entity, because the kind of language that you use can be expected only from someone who has a Merchant of Venice mentality.

“The Merchant of Venice gave people loans, and when the time came and they could not repay their debts, he started to cut off their flesh as payment for the money he had given them. This is the common practice of Bennett, and of the entire Zionist system that has occupied our land. I refer him to the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 17, about what awaits them from this pandemic and from other things. As for the question about whether we need them to give us anything – we don't need anything from the occupation,” Sinwar said.

But, he added, “If a time comes when we have no choice but to watch our citizens breathe their final breaths, and when there are no ventilators – I say to Bennett that we will make six million Israeli settlers unable to breathe.”

Sinwar also asserted that the coronavirus was a divine punishment for Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

"When I saw Trump signing his decision to allocate $2.2 trillion for the coronavirus response, I recalled how he had signed in the same manner his decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I said then: You and the Americans will pay the price for this unjust and criminal decision.”

“Today, [this virus] has entered all the cities of the world, where curfews have been declared, because our Lord is not pleased about the way things in this world are run."

815 new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, raising the total number of cases there since the beginning of the pandemic to 21,461. Nine Gazans died from the disease on Tuesday, raising the death toll to 111.