Scottish First Minister’s Parents-in-Law Among Brits Able to Leave Gaza After Weeks-Long Siege
Couple Trapped in Territory Amid Ruthless Israeli Bombardment
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf’s parents-in-law are among 92 Brits who were able to leave Gaza this morning, ending a weeks-long “living nightmare” for the family.
Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged, who are from Dundee, were trapped in the territory after Israel laid siege to it following the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel.
The couple travelled to Gaza to visit family prior to the conflict erupting.
Since then, Israel has unleashed a ruthless bombardment on the territory, killing thousands of civilians as it targets Hamas terror cells.
There have been serious concerns for the couple’s safety, with Mr Yousaf last week taking to social media to say they had lost contact with them amid a telecommunications blackout, leaving them with no information on their well-being.
But the SNP leader and his wife confirmed this morning that the couple were among an almost 100-strong group permitted to enter Egypt through the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza.
In a statement they said: “These last four weeks have been a living nightmare for our family, we are so thankful for all of the messages of comfort and prayers that we have received from across the world, and indeed from across the political spectrum in Scotland and the UK.”
The siege has also meant food, water, fuel and medical supplies are running dangerously low in the Gaza Strip, which is home to more than 2.3 million people.
Mr Yousaf’s wife, Nadia El-Nakla, has reported her parents were without clean drinking water and faced “rapidly diminishing supplies”.
On Wednesday, the First Minister welcomed the opening of the Rafah crossing which allowed people to leave Gaza, but at the time his in-laws were not among those permitted to do so.
The latest list of people who will be permitted to leave Gaza – published by the Palestinian border authority – includes 92 people described as British citizens, out of a total of 127 people named under the UK section of the list.
It comes amid major diplomatic efforts to secure foreign nationals safe passage out of the war-torn region and into Egypt through the Rafah crossing.
Around 200 Britons in Gaza have so far registered with the authorities, and along with their dependents the total number the UK is trying to secure passage for is thought to be in the low hundreds.
The Foreign Office said on Thursday that more UK nationals were able to make it into Egypt after two UK aid workers managed to flee Gaza a day earlier.
Security minister Tom Tugendhat said he could not go into detail about the number of Britons expected to cross the border.
“More than 9,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since October 7 when Israel launched its military response to the atrocities committed by Hamas.
Aid agencies are battling a humanitarian crisis in the war-ravaged territory with limited resources, amid calls for the Government to increase their efforts.”
It is understood Foreign Secretary James Cleverly spoke to Ayman Safadi, minister of foreign affairs in Jordan, and UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
He also spoke to Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, Ron Dermer, about ensuring British nationals are able to cross safely as soon as possible into Egypt.
Cleverly is said to have reiterated the UK’s solidarity with Israel and its commitment to finding a two-state solution to the on-going Israel-Palestine crisis.