Humza Yousaf speaks of family tears after Gaza evacuation

Humza Yousaf and Nadia El-Nakla
Humza Yousaf and Nadia El-Nakla say they fear for family members left in Gaza

Humza Yousaf has described as "bittersweet" the return of his parents-in-law after four weeks of being under siege in Gaza.

The first minister said his father-in-law has shed tears for the family members left behind.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged - the parents of Mr Yousaf's wife Nadia - escaped Gaza via the Rafah crossing on Friday.

Mr Yousaf said their return to Scotland was "really emotional".

"They are of course delighted that they are here but they are heartbroken that they had to leave family behind in Gaza," he told BBC Scotland News.

He later told reporters he saw his father-in-law cry for the first time.

"He was really broken by the fact that he had to say goodbye to his mother, to his son, to their grandchildren, as well - the youngest of which is only three months old," the first minister said.

He said their situation in Gaza had been"incredibly desperate" and that they had been forced to drink sea water after running out of supplies.

"We continue to watch the situation in Israel-Gaza with a lot of distress," the SNP leader told BBC Scotland News.

Mr Yousaf reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire - a step which has not been supported by either the UK government or Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

"This is a pivotal moment, frankly, for the international community," Mr Yousaf said.

"You are either on the side of humanity calling for an immediate ceasefire or you are enabling the suffering of 2.2 million men, women and children, the vast majority of whom are innocent."

The first minister also said he was "beyond angry" at the UK government seeming to want to "drive every issue into a culture war".

It came after Home Secretary Suella Braverman described a planned pro-Palestinian event in London on Armistice Day as a "hate march".

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the Met Police had his "absolute and total backing" to tackle criminality.

'It's about peace'

Speaking to journalists in Dundee, Mr Yousaf said: "I understand [the march] is taking place after the minute silence that we will all undoubtedly observe, I hear it's not going anywhere near Whitehall or, indeed, the Cenotaph.

"And, of course, if Armistice was about anything, my goodness, it's about peace."

The first minister's in-laws, from Dundee, 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.

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 10,000 people have died.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Queen Street Station
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators occupied Queen Street Station in Glasgow on Monday
Silent vigil in Holyrood
A silent vigil calling for Hamas to release Israeli hostages was held at Holyrood on Sunday

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators occupied Glasgow's Queen Street train station on Monday, following similar demonstrations at Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central on Sunday.

A rally was also held at the BBC Scotland headquarters in Glasgow.

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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