THE Prime Minister has warned the war between Israel and Hamas must not “escalate” across the Middle East as he toured the region to meet with political leaders.

Rishi Sunak held a joint press conference with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, in which he said he was “talking to as many people as I can across the region” to prevent escalation of the conflict.

War broke out between Israel and Hamas after the Palestinian militant organisation launched a major surprise attack, which involved killing Israelis and taking hostages.

Israel retaliated by putting Gaza under siege and cutting off vital supplies to the region.

Hamas has said around 3200 Palestinians have been killed since their assault on October 7 and Israel has said at least 1300 Israelis have been killed in the past fortnight.

Speaking alongside Netanyahu, the Prime Minister described Hamas as representing “pure evil” and described their attack on Israel as a “barbaric act of terrorism”.

Sunak said: “Hamas has perpetrated an absolutely barbaric act of terrorism.

“I’m sure many people would have seen seen the videos, they are horrific. They chill you — they have certainly done that to me — and everyone can see that they represent pure evil.

“And it is right that Israel exercises its right to self-defence. It has not just the right to protect its citizens [but] the duty to protect its citizens and ensure that something like this can never happen again.

READ MORE: Agreement reached to allow foreigners to exit Gaza as war escalates

“It is important that the conflict doesn’t escalate regionally. That is why I’m talking to as many people as I can across the region.

“I’ve already done that and I’ll be able to see more people in person on this trip. No one wants to see this conflict escalate. And indeed, the UK has sent various military assets into the Mediterranean to prevent regional escalation.”

Sunak’s spokesperson said he would visit Saudi Arabia later on Thursday to meet crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is expected back in the UK on Friday afternoon.

'This is Israel's darkest hour' 

Netanyahu, who is facing domestic criticism for Israel’s failure to anticipate Hamas’s attacks and for his government’s expansionist policies which have exacerbated tensions with Palestine, said his country was facing its “darkest hour”.

There are concerns that Israel’s response to the attacks has been disproportionate in its response and the PM’s spokesperson on Wednesday would not say whether the Government believed the country’s response so far to be in accordance with international law.

Netanyahu said: “This is our darkest hour. It is the world’s darkest hour. We need to stand together and we will win. And this is why I support, I value your support and the fact that you’re here — we must win together.

READ MORE: Joe Biden blames Hamas for devastating Gaza hospital bombing

“That means that this is a long war and we’ll need your continuous support. There will be ups and downs, there will be difficulties.

“The people here are united, they’re prepared to take the necessary action. I’ve never seen the people of Israel more united than they are now.

“But we need that unity across the board and continuous support as we prosecute and win this just war against the modern barbarians, the worst monsters on the planet.”

Increased aid for Palestine

During the conference, Sunak also indicated his concern for Palestinian civilians, saying he welcomed Israel’s decision to open routes for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.

“We also recognise that the Palestinian people are victims of Hamas too,” he said.

“And that is why I welcome your decision yesterday that you took to ensure that routes into Gaza will be opened for humanitarian aid to enter.

“I’m glad that you made that decision. We will support it, we are increasing our aid to the region and we will look to get more support to people as quickly as we can.

“The last thing for me to close on is this: you describe this as Israel’s darkest hour. Well then it is for me to say I’m proud to stand here with you in Israel’s darkest hour as your friend. We will stand with you in solidarity, we will stand with your people. And we also want you to win.”