Some of over 3,000 hamas militants that attacked Israel on October 7 savagely killing and brutually injuring men, women and children and soldiers were suspectedly high on the narcotic drug Captagon, believed to be commonly used by terrorists to go supercharged forgoing food and water for days, Israeli soldiers with knowledge on the attack say.
Known as Captagon in the medical world and banned in the 1980s in the US, it is also known by other names among the militants ranging from The Jihadi drug, Captain Courage, the Poor Man’s Cocaine. But were Hamas terrorists high on the synthetic stimulant Captagon when they attacked Israel on October 7, brutally killing more than 1,400 people and kidnapping at least 220 more?
Two Israeli security officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to USA Today that the methamphetamine-like substance was found on at least some Hamas members killed during or after the stunning raids on Israel, and Israel's Channel 12 News confirmed it as a distinct possibility.
However it was not officially confirmed. But soldiers said even injured militants captured by the IDF possessed either small plastic pouches of white powder or small vials of liquids containing the banned drug.
Officially, the Israeli Defense Forces or IDF declined to confirm or deny the use of Captagon by Hamas.
"We can't comment on this matter," a spokesperson said. But the Israeli security officials said small bags of the drug, which can come in the form of a tablet or cocaine-like powder, were found along with bullets concealed in the pockets of garments and tactical gear worn by some of the Hamas members.
One of the officials said that small bottles of liquid containing a white fluid with traces of Captagon were also found on the Hamas militants.
Captagon is an highly addictive drug containing the chemical amphetamine used throughout the Middle East, including by young drug takers at rave parties.
This was also found on some of the Hamas members captured alive by Israeli army and police.
The authorities are examining the possibility of the use of this drug by Hamas as the drug could have played a large part in the monstrosity of the deadliest attack in Israel's 75-year history.
Security officials talked to USA Today on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak about the issue publicly.
For years, Captagon has been a staple fire fighter among Islamic State militants, especially in Iraq and Syria, because it reportedly endows consumers with almost superhuman powers − including the ability to stay awake, calm and focused for days on end without food and water , said Carmit Valensi, a narcoterrorism expert and former senior advisor in Israel's Intelligence corps.
"It also helped them to eliminate fear and hunger, which is very important when you are conducting a long fight," said Valensi, who was also a counterterrorism analyst at the IDF's Dado Center for Interdisciplinary Military Studies and is now at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies.
The Israeli security officials said in interviews that Hamas, a US-designated terrorist group, has discovered Captagon as an organization as well.
"We know Hamas uses this drug," said one of the officials. "It's not new to us."
Valensi said the use of Captagon could help explain the viciousness of the attacks, and why Israeli men, women and children were tortured, burned, blown to bits and in at least some cases, raped and decapitated.
"It's still early and we are still trying to validate this information," Valensi said.
"But I have to say personally that it makes sense that the terrorists were acting under the influence of these drugs."
A drug for narcolepsy, depression − and terrorism: Captagon is the former trade name for fenethylline, a derivative of amphetamine having similar stimulant effects. It was initially synthesized by a German chemistry firm in 1961, and used in Europe for over two decades to treat hyperactivity disorders in children, narcolepsy and depression, according to studies shared by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Its addictive properties were found to outweigh its benefits, Captagon was thus phased out as an official pharmaceutical product in the 1980s under the US Controlled Substances Act and the World Health Organization.