Rome: Premier Giorgia Meloni said Saturday that Italy was preparing to take aid to the Gaza Strip via sea, Azernews reports, citing ANSA.

“I am in constant contact with (Defence) Minister (Guido) Crosetto and our allies,” Meloni told reporters in the Marche town of Acqualagna.

“We have a multi-dimensional patrol vessel that is ready to reach the waters off Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid. And we have two more frigates and an amphibious ship, if needed, as well as field hospitals”.

She said the release of the hostages Hamas took in its attacks on Israel on October 7 was crucial to de-escalating the situation.

“We hope there will be news (about the hostages), at one point it seemed there was going to be,” she said.

“News (on this front) would be very important to reach a de-escalation,” she added that Italy was doing “painstaking work” on the diplomatic level “with great responsibility and balance” within the European Council and the UN.