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FM’s mother-in-law ‘said goodbyes’ in panicked call after false alarm

The First Minister’s mother and father-in-law are stuck in Gaza after the Hamas attack on Israel and subsequent reprisals.

The mother-in-law of Scotland’s First Minister said her goodbyes in a phone call sparked by a false alarm.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged were visiting family in Gaza when the Hamas attack on Israel took place last weekend, followed by reprisals.

Both Humza Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla have been candid about their fears for their family in the region, which also includes her 93-year-old grandmother her brother and his family.

Elizabeth El-Nakla sent a tearful video to her son-in-law this week, which was posted to X, formerly Twitter, where she questioned “Where is humanity? Where’s people’s hearts in the world, to let this happen in this day and age?”

Speaking on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg from the SNP conference in Aberdeen, the First Minister said: “Last night was a very difficult night, if I’m honest.

“We got a call at one in the morning from my mother in law in a panic.”

Someone in the neighbourhood where they live, he said, had been told to evacuate their home because it was due to be hit, leaving neighbours “running to goodness and God knows where”.

“You can imagine the panic, and my mother-in-law was even saying her goodbyes, which was pretty hard to hear.”

The alert, however, was a “false alarm”, the First Minister said.

The First Minister also backed a potential UK Government scheme to accept Israelis and Palestinians seeking to flee the violence.

“Asked about such a move, Humza Yousaf said he “absolutely” supports it.

He added: “There’s many people who are worried about their relatives – Jewish, Muslim, Christian, atheist, agnostic – whether it’s those that are captured by Hamas or whether it’s those like my own family in Gaza.”

He went on to reiterate his calls for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow supplies to reach civilians in Gaza, as well as calling on the international community to deal with the “root cause” of the hostilities in the region.

“We have to, of course, bring people to the UK if we are able to, but also, if we want to stop this perpetual cycle of violence… then we also have to say unequivocally, and there should be no controversy about this statement, that an Israeli life and a Palestinian life are equal.

“We have to make sure that we never lose sight of that.”

On the need for a humanitarian corridor, he went on to say he had urged Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to be “unequivocal” with the Israeli Government about its need.

“The UK Government is a trusted ally of Israel, they should use that trusted position to be explicit, unequivocal, and say a humanitarian corridor to allow supplies to come in and to allow people to leave, must open.

“The border, Rafah crossing, must open.

“And there has to be a ceasefire because you can have an open border, but if people can’t travel there because they’re worried about being hit by a missile, a rocket, Hamas gunfire, then they’re not going to take the risk to travel – or they may and may get killed en route.

“So the UK Government have to do more.”

From speaking to Palestinian leaders on Friday, the First Minister said they “didn’t feel like the Palestinian lives mattered”.

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