• Saturday, December 09, 2023

Humza Yousaf’s in-laws stuck in Gaza return to Scotland

The family of Scotland’s first minister was reunited when they successfully crossed into Egypt via the Rafah crossing on Friday

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Humza Yousaf’s in-laws, Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged, have returned to Scotland after being stranded in Gaza for four weeks.

The family of Scotland’s first minister was reunited when they successfully crossed into Egypt on Friday (3) via the Rafah crossing.

Yousaf shared the news on social media, confirming their safe arrival, and even posted a photo of their reunion, the BBC reported.

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

Certain relatives of Yousaf, who do not possess UK passports, are still in Gaza.

He added, “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.”

The couple had journeyed to Gaza at the beginning of the previous month to visit Maged’s mother, who had suffered a stroke in March but had since recovered.

Yousaf’s brother-in-law, a hospital doctor, along with his family, as well as his wife’s stepmother and grandmother, remain in Gaza.

During their stay, the El-Nakla couple, residents of Dundee, had spent the last two weeks in a house where approximately 100 people sought shelter, including a two-month-old child.

Despite three previous unsuccessful attempts, they managed to travel to the border, finally leaving Gaza.
The couple arrived at Edinburgh airport around 10:30 on Sunday (5) morning.

Since October 7, border crossings in and out of Gaza had remained closed after an attack on Israel by Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,400 people and the hostage-taking of over 240 individuals.

Following this incident, Israel initiated military action in Gaza, leading to a death toll of more than 9,700 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The Palestinian border authority has been releasing lists of individuals authorised to present themselves at the crossing with their passports. One such list on Friday included over 90 British citizens, with an additional 88 listed on Saturday.

On Sunday, deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden confirmed that over 100 UK citizens successfully exited Gaza.

It was initially estimated that around 200 British nationals were present in the region before the conflict erupted.

Starting Wednesday, up to 500 foreign nationals have been leaving Gaza daily through the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

However, these “controlled” evacuations were temporarily halted on Saturday and were expected to resume on Sunday. These evacuations, facilitated through the border controlled by Egyptian authorities, are conducted within specific “time-limited periods.”

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