The taking of hostages by Hamas makes it difficult for Israel to “lawfully” defend itself against the militant group, Steve Baker has said.

Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organisation by the UK, took up to 150 people captive when it launched its surprise attack on Israel via land, air and sea on Saturday.

Mr Baker, the Conservative MP for Wycombe, told the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service that the hostage situation complicated Israel’s military response.

He said: “Innocent life is equally valuable everywhere it is to be found and there are plenty of innocent Palestinians and innocent people in Gaza and they are going to suffer terribly.

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“Israel pursuing its just defence in Gaza is an extremely difficult task militarily because soldiers have got to put their lives at risk.

“The stories of what Hamas is doing to hostages are utterly barbaric. In such circumstances, mounting any kind of just, lawful defence is extremely difficult.”

During a wide-ranging interview, Mr Baker, the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, acknowledged the difficulties of Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

He said: “I am absolutely clear that Israel’s approach to the use of lethal force is categorically different to that of Hamas.

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“Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Israel is a legitimate state entitled to a legitimate defence. I think anyone who believes that Israel would deliberately target civilians for its own sake is misleading themselves.

“When one conducts a military operation in a highly built-up area, there is going to be severe risk of innocent people losing their lives and that is where it all gets extremely difficult.”

At least 830 Palestinians and 1,008 Israelis have been killed since Saturday when Hamas militants began their attacks on Israel, which included a massacre of at least 260 people at a festival.

The UK, US, France, Germany and Italy pledged their “steadfast and united support” for the state of Israel and “unequivocal condemnation” of Hamas in a joint statement on Monday.

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Vigils and protests in London over the Israel-Hamas war have been attended by thousands of people and Mr Baker acknowledged that his constituents also feel passionately about the conflict.

He said: “We are going to stand with Israel… Israel is going to have a very tough time and temperatures are going to run very high in Wycombe and elsewhere.”

The MP, who voted to recognise Palestine as a state, claimed Hamas’ massacre of innocent people has made things more difficult for innocent Palestinians.

He said: “Now is just not the moment to be advancing the legitimate interests of Palestinians after what Hamas has done.”

He added: “One of the side effects is that it is going be increasingly difficult to defend the legitimate interests of Palestinians.”