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 terrorist attacks, and meet with Israeli leadership".

However, the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, who has urged Israel not to cut water, fuel or electricity to Gaza and has called for a humanitarian corridor for those trying to flee, will not join the duo as he is in China. 

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 1,500 Palestinian lives.

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 European Union and its member states have expressed horror at Hamas' killings and endorsed Israel's right to defend itself within "the limits of international law".

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

But von der Leyen and Metsola have been outspoken in their support for Israel, accusing Hamas of carrying out an anti-Semitic massacre of innocent civilians. 

"October 7 is a day that will go down in global infamy," Metsola said on Wednesday at a Brussels tribute ceremony to the Israeli dead.  

"The world has witnessed Jews being murdered simply because they were Jewish. Again. In Israel," she said.

Earlier, von der Leyen had told her commission colleagues: "These innocents were killed for one single reason. For being Jewish and living in the State of Israel.

"It is an ancient evil, which reminds us of the darkest past and shocks all of us to the core," she said.

Speaking from Israel on Friday, Metsola said she was there with a "message of solidarity."

"Terror will not prevail. How we respond matters.  We can - we must - stop Hamas. And do what we can to mitigate humanitarian consequences," she said. 

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.