First Minister Humza Yousaf makes contact with family in Gaza

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf reiterated his calls for a ceasefire in Gaza

Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf says he has finally made contact with his family in Gaza following a communications blackout.

Mr Yousaf’s in-laws have been trapped in the territory since the deadly attacks by Hamas in Israel.

The first minister said he heard from them after two days without contact and they had run out of drinking water.

Mr Yousaf reiterated his call for a ceasefire and said humanitarian aid must get through “without delay”.

Phone lines and internet connections are slowly returning to Gaza after more than a day of almost total communications blackout.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged – the parents of Mr Yousaf’s wife Nadia – had been out of contact since Friday morning and Mr Yousaf said he feared they were dead.

They had travelled from their home in Dundee to Gaza to see a sick relative before the conflict broke out.

Elizabeth El-Nakla & Maged El-Nakla
Elizabeth El-Nakla and Maged El-Nakla were with family when the Hamas attacks happened

Connectivity to Gaza cut as Israel intensified its bombardment of the territory and began a large ground operation involving tanks and troops.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said is the “second stage” of what he says will be a “long and difficult” war with Hamas.

Writing on X, the website formerly known as Twitter, Mr Yousaf said: “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. We need the violence to stop, and for significant amounts of aid to get through without delay.”

The first minister has written to all political leaders in the UK, urging them to back a ceasefire in Gaza.

He said Israel had a right to defend itself following the attacks on October 7, but he added action must be taken now to stop the “staggering humanitarian disaster” unfolding in Gaza.

Israel has been bombing territory since since Hamas killed 1,400 people and kidnapped 229 as hostages.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said more than 8,000 people have been killed since Israel’s retaliation began.

On Saturday, thousands of protesters in Scotland joined pro-Palestinian rallies in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Similar demonstrations were held in cities across the UK including London, Manchester and Belfast.

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