Rishi Sunak could visit Israel as soon as Thursday, Sky News understands | Politics News

Rishi Sunak is set to visit Israel, possibly as soon as Thursday, Sky News understands.

The prime minister’s trip could be part of a broader visit to the region, which may include stops in Jordan and Egypt.

It follows visits from Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz today and US president Joe Biden on Wednesday.

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And it comes amid growing concern about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with calls to open aid corridors as the Israeli military prepares for the next phase of its campaign against Hamas following the incursion on 7 October.

At least 1,400 people were killed, thousands more injured and almost 200 taken hostage when Hamas carried out the surprise assault on Israel, the most deadly attack by the group in decades.

Since then, at least 2,778 Palestinians have been killed as Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza and cut off fuel, water, food and medical supplies from entering the cramped territory, which is home to more than two million people.

Mr Biden is travelling to Israel on Wednesday amid concerns the conflict could spiral into a wider regional issue.

As part of his trip, the US president will also meet King Abdullah of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also travelled to Israel for an impromptu visit on Tuesday, while French President Emmanuel Macron said he will travel to the region “as soon as I consider that we have a useful agenda and very concrete actions to drive forward”.

News of Mr Sunak’s visit emerged before a strike on a hospital in Gaza which Palestinian officials claimed killed at least 500 people. Israel denied involvement in the blast, saying the explosion was caused by a misfired Palestinian rocket.

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Downing Street would not comment publicly on whether Mr Sunak would head to the region.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We’ll set out travel plans in the usual way, I couldn’t get into speculation.”

However Mark Regev, an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Sky News on Tuesday night he was scheduled to visit.

Asked if it’s best President Biden doesn’t travel to Israel, he said: “I disagree, I disagree. And it’s not just he [who’s] coming – your prime minister, the British prime minister is supposed to come, the French prime minister’s supposed to come.”

Mr Sunak updated Cabinet on Tuesday with the latest developments from the conflict, telling ministers Hamas was responsible for the “murder and suspected abduction of British nationals”.

At least six Britons were killed in the Hamas attacks, with a further 10 missing – some feared dead.

Mr Sunak also held calls with the leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia when it was agreed the conflict “must not be allowed to destabilise the wider region and cause further bloodshed”.

They also held conversations on efforts to free Britons taken hostage by Hamas, and on ensuring safe passage for aid to Gaza.

British officials are working to secure the opening of the Rafah crossing to allow Britons to flee to Egypt and for humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.