Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte said on Friday he was "worried" by a possible escalation of the violence that flared in recent days between Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel, his office said in a statement on Friday.
During talks in Rome with Israel's president Reuven Rivlin centred on the current situation in the Middle East and the Mediterranean "Conte stated that he was worried at the risk of an escalation of the violence seen in Gaza in recent days," the statement said.
"He said he wanted to see a lasting ceasefire that allows all parties to alleviate the humanitarian crisis there," the statement added.
During his meeting with Conte, Rivlin said Hamas was responsible for the recent fighting, according to a statement from the Israeli embassy.
Israel will not allow Hamas to fire missiles at civilians and has "every right to respond forcefully to acts of terror against its population," the statement cited Rivlin as telling Conte.
After a botched intelligence mission by undercover commandos left seven Palestinian fighters dead on Sunday, Hamas and other armed Palestinian factions targeted much of southern Israel with an intensifying rocket and mortar barrage that continued into Tuesday morning.
Israel retaliated with steadily more destructive airstrikes and tank fire that hit scores of military posts and weapons caches and other targets across Gaza in what was the worst fighting between Israel and Gaza since their war in 2014.
Rivlin's visit to Italy coincides with the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel which will be celebrated by Italian institutions to underscore the strong friendship between the two states, Conte's office stated.
Rivlin, a lawyer and politician, is a member of Israel's ruling centre-right Likud party. Conte, a law professor and political novice, heads Italy's populist coalition government that took office in June.