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BRUSSELS: The presidents of the European Commission and Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen and Roberta Metsola, will visit Israel on Friday.

A statement from the commission said the senior Brussels officials would “express solidarity with the victims of the Hamas group, and meet with Israeli leadership”.

Hamas gunmen killed 1,200 mainly civilian people and took about 150 hostages in a shock onslaught launched from the Palestinian territory of Gaza on Saturday.

Israel has responded by raining air and artillery strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza for six days, claiming more than 1,400 Palestinian lives.

Blinken seeks to exert Arab pressure as Israel readies Gaza offensive

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel on Thursday and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will arrive on Friday to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The EU chiefs programme of visits has not been finalised.

Some European officials have expressed concerns about Israel’s new siege of Gaza.

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