Rishi Sunak has pledged to provide diplomatic, intelligence or security support to Israel if requested after attacks by Hamas, as he chaired an emergency meeting of Cobra.

No 10 said the UK stood “poised” to help Israel militarily if it asked for assistance and is not ruling out evacuating some British citizens from affected areas, saying keeping them safe was the “utmost priority”.

Sunak chaired a meeting of Cobra on Monday afternoon, which is convened to manage the UK’s response to disasters, as the death toll continues to rise after Hamas’s surprise attack and hostage-taking, and Israel’s subsequent bombardment of Gaza. At least 700 people have been killed in Israel and more than 400 have been killed in Gaza.

Sunak, who had a phone call with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday, said the UK was one of Israel’s strongest allies and he highlighted that Britain had previously provided “the kinds of equipment that they’ve used to defend themselves over the past couple of days”.

“And as I said to the prime minister [of Israel], we will continue to provide – whether that’s diplomatic, intelligence or security support – as they need,” he said, after a meeting at a business in Newark, Nottinghamshire.

The prime minister also told an event on Monday night that “terrorism will not prevail”. Speaking at the Future Resilience Forum, a thinktank launched by Theresa May’s former chief of staff Fiona Hill, Sunak said: “Israel has the absolute right to defend itself and to deter further incursions.

“We are working with the Israeli authorities to support them and we’re doing everything possible to support British citizens who were caught up in the attacks and the families of those who perished. I also want to say a word to Jewish communities here at home: I am with you. And we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that you feel safe.”

Asked whether the UK would back Israel if it was to launch a ground operation in Gaza, Sunak’s official spokesperson said: “We support Israel exercising its right to self-defence and proportionate action to bring an end to the violence.”

The spokesperson said there were no plans to redeploy military assets to the area but that there were currently British assets in the region, including HMS Duncan under Nato control, which is patrolling in the Mediterranean.

Some countries have begun to withdraw their citizens from Israel and Gaza but the UK Foreign Office is currently only asking British or dual nationals affected to contact its helpline. The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to the region due to the conflict.

There are no standalone flights being organised by Britain at this stage but the possibility of evacuations is being kept under review. There are an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 British or dual nationals in Israel and Gaza, according to the UK government.

No 10 said: “It’s a fast-moving situation that the Foreign Office are keeping under review. We are contacting relevant groups and nationals where required.”

Asked whether the UK thought Iran had any involvement in the encouragement of Hamas’s attacks on Israel, Sunak’s spokesperson said Hamas was “fully responsible for this appalling act of terror”, but he added: “We do know Iran poses an unacceptable threat to Israel through its support for Hamas and Hezbollah.”

No 10 said Suella Braverman, the home secretary, was monitoring reports of increased antisemitic attacks and had spoken with the Community Security Trust, the organisation working to protect British Jews, with the possibility of surge police patrols in some areas.