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Scottish first minister’s in-laws return home from Gaza

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    1 day ago

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Image source, Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf’s in-laws have arrived back in Scotland after being trapped for four weeks in Gaza.

The family of Scotland’s first minister were reunited after they managed to cross into Egypt on Friday.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged – the parents of Mr Yousaf’s wife Nadia – were allowed to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing.

Mr Yousaf confirmed the news on X, formerly Twitter, and posted a photo of the reunion.


He said: “I am pleased to say my in-laws are safe and back home.”

The post included some Arabic script, which translates as “praise be to God”.

Some of Mr Yousaf’s relatives who do not hold UK passports remain in Gaza.

He continued: “We are, of course, elated, but my father-in-law said, ‘My heart is broken in two, and with my mum, son and grandchildren in Gaza.’ He then broke down telling me how hard it was saying goodbye to them.

“Our thoughts remain with those who can’t leave and are trapped in a war zone. We will continue to raise our voices for peace and to stop the killing of innocent men, women and children in Gaza.

“This has been a traumatic few weeks. I can’t begin to tell you the impact it has had on Nadia and our family, particularly my in-laws. I’m sure they will tell their story in time. In the meantime, we ask that their privacy is respected.”

Ms El-Nakla's mother, Elizabeth, with her twin grandsons, who turned nine on Wednesday

The couple travelled to Gaza early last month to visit Mr El-Nakla’s mother, who had a stroke in March but has now recovered.

Mr Yousaf’s brother-in-law, who is a hospital doctor, and his family remain in Gaza, as do his wife’s stepmother and grandmother.

Mr and Mrs El-Nakla, from Dundee, had spent the past two weeks in a house where 100 people were sheltering, including a child of two months old.

They had travelled to the border in an attempt to leave on three previous occasions without success.

The BBC understands the couple arrived at Edinburgh airport at about 10:30 on Sunday morning.

Border crossings in and out of Gaza had been closed since 7 October, when Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK, attacked Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and taking more than 240 hostage.

Since then Israel has been carrying out military action in Gaza. The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 9,700 people have died.

The Palestinian border authority has been issuing lists of those who can present themselves at the crossing with their passports. Friday’s list named more than 90 British citizens, with 88 on Saturday’s list.

On Sunday, the Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden confirmed more than 100 UK citizens had made it out of Gaza.

It was thought there were around 200 British nationals there before war broke out.

Up to 500 foreign nationals had been leaving Gaza per day via the Raffah crossing into Egypt since Wednesday but the “controlled” evacuations were halted on Saturday.

A source has told the BBC they would resume again on Sunday. The evacuations via the border, which is controlled by the Egyptian authorities, have been conducted over “time-limited periods”.

Silent vigil in Holyrood

Image source, PA Media

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators occupied two of Scotland’s biggest railway stations during a day of protests on Saturday.

In Edinburgh Waverley station, protesters could be heard chanting “free Palestine” and “ceasefire now”.

In Glasgow, supporters held a sit-down protest before marching to the BBC Scotland headquarters for a rally.

On Sunday, a silent vigil was held outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to remember those who are being held hostage by Hamas.

Heart-shaped balloons were attached to shoes to represent those who were kidnapped.

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