Foreign Office warns against travel to Israel in aftermath of Hamas attack

The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Israel and the occupied territories following Saturday’s attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The UK Government is not believed to be considering any evacuations of British nationals in the region but i understands that contingencies remain in place to implement an evacuation plan if it is deemed necessary.

Officials updated the Government’s travel advice to Israel on Sunday afternoon. The FCDO is in contact with a number of British nationals on the ground in Israel, i understands, but there have been little to no demands for extraction from the country despite the unrest.

The updated travel advice also says Brits should avoid all travel to Gaza and the region around it, as well as within 500 metres of the border with Lebanon – the “Blue Line” – and within 500 metres of the border with Syria, known as the “Alpha Line”.

In a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday afternoon, Rishi Sunak said the “UK will stand with Israel unequivocally against these acts of terror”.

Downing Street added that the Prime Minister offered Mr Netanyahu “any support Israel needs”.

“The Prime Minister outlined the diplomatic work the UK is doing to ensure the world speaks with one voice in opposition to these appalling attacks,” a No 10 spokesman said.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the UK would support Israel in whatever it decides is necessary to defend itself against Hamas attacks.

“We support their right of self-defence and will support them in whatever they decide to do to defend their country against terrorist attacks,” he told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme.

“My own department is working closely with British airlines that fly in that part of the world to make sure they’ve all the information they have to make sure they can continue to keep their passengers safe.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there was “no justification” for the attack on Israel, arguing that Hamas has deliberately pushed back the prospect of a peace deal.

“This is an appalling attack on Israel, a terrorist attack, for which there is no justification,” he said. “The perpetrators of this have deliberately pushed back the prospect of peace agreements.”

He said he had spoken to the leader of the Israeli Labor party, Merav Michaeli, last night.

“As we were on the phone the siren went off and she had to go down into her shelter, taking her papers with her,” he said. “So it’s an appalling act of terrorism, it needs to be called out across the world.”

Speaking at the Labour conference in Liverpool, David Lammy said he would not “mince my words” in describing Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

The shadow Foreign Secretary told a conference fringe event that Labour remains committed to a two-state solution.

“Hamas are seeking to undermine that. They are seeking to break that, they are approaching this with rockets and with terrorism.”