The mother-in-law of Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has made a tearful appeal for “the world to help Palestinians” from inside Gaza, where she is trapped with her husband and other family members, including several children.
Elizabeth El-Nakla and her Palestinian husband, Maged, who live in Dundee, Scotland, travelled to Gaza last week to visit a relative but are now unable to leave after Hamas’s attack on Israel and the ensuing blockade of the strip, which the militant group controls.
The couple are living with Mr El-Nakla’s 93-year-old mother, who is unwell, their son Mohammed, his wife Duas and four children, one of whom is two months old.
“I am currently in Deir al-Balah with my husband’s family, my family, my grandchildren,” Ms El-Nakla said in an emotional video, which appeared on several UK news sites.
“We have no electricity. We have no water. The food we do have, which is little, will not last because there is no electricity and it will spoil.
“I have four grandchildren in this home: a two-month-old baby, a four-year-old and, today, two nine-year-old twins. [It’s] their birthday. I ask the world to help the Palestinians.”
The Scottish leader’s wife, Nadia El-Nakla, Mohammed's sister, said her family had hoped to escape via the Rafah border with Egypt, but all crossings have now been closed by Israel.
She said her family is now “caught up in a war situation”.
She told the BBC Scotland News: "My mother says that there is continual bombardment from land, sea and air”, adding that “every part of her body is shaking".
"They are just terrified, absolutely terrified, about what is to come and what is happening right now as we speak."
Ms El-Nakla's aunt and cousin’s homes have been flattened and she said she was concerned about talk of Gaza being obliterated in response to the operation by Hamas.
"It puts the complete fear into me that I am never going to see them again,” she said.
Ms El-Nakla said she has spoken to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, but it has confirmed that, as yet, there is no way out.
But if that changes and an exit route is established for British citizens, her parents may be forced to leave Mr El-Nakla’s mother, the couple’s son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren behind because they do not have UK passports.
"At times my arms feel like lead and it feels like I am just living in a nightmare for them. So I can't understand how they feel."
She said Gaza is in desperate need of help.
"This needs to be a time when medical resources, food, water, basic human needs are met. That is international law. It is really vital.
"That's my fear. First is they die. Second is they are starving. Three is the house is put to rubble and they are in camps.
"That is really scary."
She said every time bombs go off her eight-week-old nephew’s arms “flail in fear”.
“I fear that his little heart can't take that continual bombardment,” she said.
"Too many innocent people have already lost their lives as a consequence of these completely unjustifiable and illegitimate attacks by Hamas,” Mr Yousaf wrote.
“However, innocent men, women and children cannot, and should not, pay the price for the actions of a terrorist group.
“As a close friend and ally of Israel, I therefore ask the UK government to call on the government of Israel to ensure innocent civilians are protected, and to put in place an immediate ceasefire to allow the safe passage of civilians through the Rafah border,” he said in his letter.