Defence Secretary Grant Shapps will discuss efforts to “accelerate the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance into Gaza” during a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) and Israel.

Mr Shapps is expected to meet interior minister of the Palestinian Authority, General Ziad Hab Al-Reeh in the OPTs, and Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv during his trip on Wednesday and Thursday.

He will discuss options to provide civilians in the Gaza Strip with more humanitarian aid, how the UK can support the Palestinian Authority and efforts to prevent further escalation in the Middle East, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Mr Shapps will also talk about efforts to recover hostages – including a number of Britons – who were taken by Hamas fighters during the unprecedented October 7 incursion into Israel.

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Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

“My visit this week is an important opportunity to discuss efforts to accelerate the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance into Gaza and efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages,” Mr Shapps said.

“We are working to find the best way to get aid and support to those in desperate need in the quickest and most direct route. That includes options by land, sea and air.

“We have deployed an extra 1,000 military personnel in the Middle East and our forces are there to support the humanitarian aid effort and help in stabilising the area.

“The events of October 7 horrified the world and I personally want to offer my support and condolences to Israel and its people.

“We fully support Israel’s right to defend itself, but it is important their fight against Hamas terrorists remains within international law.”

Mr Shapps will raise the “urgent need for measures to improve security for Palestinians in the West Bank” with Mr Hab Al-Reeh and he will discuss “the current security situation and Israel’s next steps” with Mr Gallant, the MoD added.

He will also visit Kfar Aza, a kibbutz in southern Israel where “Hamas fighters killed Israeli families in their homes” on October 7, the MoD said.

His visit comes after Rishi Sunak told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that more humanitarian aid is required in the Gaza Strip, as concerns grow about civilian deaths amid the Israeli bombardment, during a call on Tuesday.