Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Kirsteen Paterson
09 October 2023
Humza Yousaf reveals in-laws are 'trapped in Gaza' as he condemns Hamas ‘terror attack’

First Minister Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf reveals in-laws are 'trapped in Gaza' as he condemns Hamas ‘terror attack’

Humza Yousaf has said his in-laws are trapped in Gaza and he does not know "whether they'll make it through the night or not".

Scotland's first minister condemned the Hamas violence on Israel as a "terror attack", saying it is "horrific to see innocent lives lost".

And he revealed how he "can't sleep" because his wife's parents are trapped in Gaza after travelling there to visit her grandmother.

Dundee councillor Nadia el-Nakla, who is married to Yousaf, is Palestinian and her parents returned to Gaza to see the 92-year-old.

Yousaf said: "My in-laws who live in Dundee, in Scotland, they've been in Gaza [and] are currently trapped in Gaza.

"My father-in-law went to visit his 92-year-old elderly and frail mother and we've been on the phone to them for the last 48, 72 hours. They're trapped. They've been told by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza because Gaza will effectively be obliterated but they've got nowhere to go and despite the best efforts of the British Foreign Office nobody, nobody can guarantee them safe passage anywhere. So I'm in a situation where, frankly, night by night, day by day, we don't know whether or not my mother-in-law and father-in-law, who have nothing to do with Hamas as most Gazans don't with Hamas or any terror attack, whether they will make it through the night or not."

Violence began on Saturday when Hamas launched an attack which has been met with a counter-attack from Israel. Reports suggest around 700 people have been killed in Israel and 500 have been killed in Gaza. Reports suggest around 130 people abducted by Hamas are still being held.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned people living in Gaza to leave and said parts of the territory will be turned "into rubble".

Speaking in Bute House, Yousaf said: "We cannot sleep. We are closely watching our phones. When our messages do get through, we're waiting for a reply. The family now have been told - all of Gazans have been told - that Gaza will not get food supplies, supply supplies, fuel supplies, or electricity supplies.

"I'm worried about my family. There'll be many people, including those in Scotland's Jewish community, for example, who will be really worried about their family in Israel that have come to harm and my thoughts go to everybody because innocent civilians have nothing to do with the conflict, have nothing to do with Hamas terror, have nothing to do with the loss of life and they are the ones, often innocent people, who are paying a price.

"My mother-in-law is Dundee born and bred, a retired nurse from Ninewells, is nothing to do with Hamas. She's trapped now in Gaza, unable to get out but being told to leave because if they don't leave, then they could end up coming to harm's way."

Yousaf said he has been in touch with the Foreign Office for information on any Scots caught up in the Israeli or Palestinian sides of the violence.

Calling for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians, he went on: "I can't imagine what those families, those Israeli families, Jewish families, what they are going through after having lost loved ones to that barbaric act of terror. There's no ifs or buts or maybes about the condemnation of that attack and I completely understand Israel has a right like any country would have the right to protect its citizens from that type of terror.

"What we cannot do though, what cannot be allowed to happen, is the collective punishment of 2.2m people in Gaza. Remember the majority of Gazans are children. The overwhelming majority of Gazans have nothing to do with Hamas. We cannot allow them to be collectively punished for the actions - the disgraceful, unacceptable, unjustifiable actions of Hamas. I really hope that those who are in Gaza are given some sort of safe passage, there is some sort of humanitarian corridor that is created in order to allow them to leave, whether it's people who have lived in Gaza for a number of years or whether it's people like my father-in-law and mother-in-law who have visited relatives there. I hope there is some safe passage for them."

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Kirsteen Paterson - Anas Sarwar: Labour will give 'wealth and power' to working people.

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top