Israel should show “restraint” as it prepares to invade Gaza, Britain’s foreign secretary has said, marking a change of tone from the UK government.

James Cleverly urged the Israel Defence Forces to show “discipline” and avoid mass casualties, as it prepared to launch a ground attack a week after Hamas militants killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks.

He also confirmed that about 10 Britons were among those whom Hamas fighters had taken hostage during the attack.

Cleverly told Sky News: “Restraint, discipline – these are the hallmarks of the Israeli Defence Force that I want to see. And indeed, those are the hallmarks of a high-functioning military organisation, which the IDF is, in stark contrast to the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.

“I’ve said, maintain that clear distinction: Israel seeks to avoid civilian casualties; Hamas seeks civilians in order to target.”