ROME (Reuters) - Italy said on Monday Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians in Gaza were no longer justifiable in one of the strongest criticisms Rome has made so far against Israel's campaign.

"There is an increasingly difficult situation, in which the Palestinian people are being squeezed without regard for the rights of innocent men, women and children who have nothing to do with Hamas and this can no longer be justified," Defence Minister Guido Crosetto told SkyTG24 TV.

"We are watching the situation with despair."

Latest Israeli air strikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah killed at least 35 Palestinians and wounded dozens.

Israel said the attack was aimed at a Hamas compound, though its top military prosecutor called it "very grave" and said the army regretted any harm to non-combatants.

Crosetto said Italy agreed in principle with the Israeli response to the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas militants on southern Israeli communities, but he added that a difference had to be made between the Islamist group and the Palestinian people.

On Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani met Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa in Rome, reiterating their support for a ceasefire and urging Hamas to release Israeli hostages.

Italy has repeatedly said that Israel had a right to defend itself from Hamas. Last week, Rome said an International Criminal Court prosecutor's decision to seek an arrest warrant for Israeli leaders was "unacceptable".

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)