Humza Yousaf makes contact with family in Gaza

Scotland's First Minister renews calls for ceasefire amid intensifying Israeli campaign

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf is using his position to lobby the UK government to back a ceasefire in Gaza. PA
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has spoken to his in-laws who are trapped in Gaza.

On Sunday, Mr Yousaf said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that he and his wife Nadia El-Nakla had heard from her parents, Elizabeth and Maged, who travelled to Gaza from Scotland before the conflict broke out.

Mr Yousaf said they are alive but he fears for their safety as they have run out of drinking water.

"We heard from my in-laws in Gaza this morning, they are alive, thank God. However, they have run out of clean drinking water. The UN resolution must be implemented.

Mr Yousaf's parents-in-law, Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, have been unable to leave Gaza after travelling there from their home in Dundee, Scotland, before Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel.

In videos from Gaza, Mrs El-Nakla has made tearful appeals for “the world to help Palestinians” as the strip runs short of food, water and electricity.

The devolved Scottish government has no power over UK foreign policy but Mr Yousaf has used his position to lobby intensively for a ceasefire.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other party leaders in Britain, he urged them to call for a cessation of hostilities to stop a “staggering humanitarian disaster” in Gaza.

“We should stand together and united in unequivocally calling on all parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire to allow a humanitarian corridor to be opened, so that lifesaving supplies can get into Gaza and innocent civilians who want to leave be given safe passage out,” he wrote.

“The situation in Gaza is at the point of being cataclysmic. All of us must do everything we can to prevent that. There must be no more dithering, or delay, together we must call for an immediate ceasefire.”

Israel said it had hit 150 underground targets in Gaza overnight as it intensifies its military campaign, rejecting calls at the UN General Assembly for a humanitarian truce.

Britain abstained on the UN truce resolution, saying it could not support a wording that did not explicitly condemn Hamas. A Canadian amendment mentioning the militant group by name failed to reach the required majority.

Mr Sunak's government has been briefing that it is open to “humanitarian pauses” but believes a full ceasefire would “only benefit Hamas”.

The Labour opposition is facing divisions over the war, with leader Keir Starmer under growing pressure to call for a ceasefire from influential party figures including London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Updated: October 29, 2023, 7:30 PM