THE First Minister has said his mother-in-law, who is stuck in Gaza, has “lost hope”.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged travelled to the region before the Hamas attack and subsequent Israeli reprisals left them trapped.

Speaking in Holyrood on Tuesday in an emotional statement that twice left him holding back tears, Humza Yousaf reiterated calls for a ceasefire, an increase in aid and a global refugee settlement scheme to be created for those who wish to flee.

Of his in-laws, he said: “Every night Nadia and I go to bed barely sleeping, as we count down the hours until the morning, waiting anxiously for a message from my mother-in-law to tell us they have survived the night.

“Throughout the day, the 100 people in the family home must ration their food.

“The adults barely eat, my mother-in-law only ate cashew nuts yesterday, they ration so the children in the house don’t end up malnourished, but time is running out.

“I spoke to my mother-in-law this morning. She feels helpless and has lost hope. She told me she feels as if the UK Government has forgotten about her.

“Please don’t interpret my point as a political one, it is not.”

The First Minister added that what she needs is for the UK Government, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, to “spend every minute of every day demanding that their allies in Egypt and Israel open the Rafah crossing and open it now, to allow those UK citizens, all of them trapped in Gaza, safe passage and for them to return home to their families”.

Yousaf said he made this point in a call to Rishi Sunak on Tuesday and expressed the Scottish Government’s “full support” for what he is doing to bring British people taken hostage by Hamas home.

Holding back tears, the First Minister added: “And in the meantime, I have a wife who really wants to hug her mum and dad, I have two girls who really miss their granny and grandad.

“And they just want to know, like many other families across the country, when they’ll come home, and I’m afraid it is a question I simply do not know the answer to.”

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Aid arriving in Gaza should be “significantly increased”, he said, with fuel included to ensure hospitals are allowed to operate.

“The sick, the injured, premature babies, they will die,” he said.

“If that happens there will be a stain on all of our collective consciences and it is one we should not be forgiven for.”

On Tuesday, a joint statement from the First Minister and leaders in the Jewish and Muslim communities in Scotland was released, with signatories pledging to be “steadfast against all forms of hate crime, bigotry and xenophobia and we are proud of the strong inter-faith tradition in Scotland”.

Yousaf also spoke about meeting the mother of Bernard Cowan, a Scot who died in the Hamas attacks on Israel earlier this month.

He met Irene Cowan when he attended a service of solidarity at Giffnock Newton Mearns Synagogue in East Renfrewshire on October 12.

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The First Minister said: “We held each other, we cried and shared in each other’s grief.

“She is an incredible woman who despite her own heartache told me that she was praying for my in-laws and for all the innocent men, women and children trapped in Gaza.

“So let us agree that too many mothers and fathers have lost their children, too many children have become orphaned, and that is why an immediate ceasefire must be agreed to."

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said his party “stands with Israel”, but also with civilians in Gaza, saying: “The Palestinian people are not Hamas.

“They are civilians, they are innocent, they are simply caught in a terrible situation. And they are also suffering from the tyranny, exploitation and oppression of Hamas terrorists.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “There is never any justification for targeting civilians or the loss of innocent life.”

He added: “While Israel has a right to defend itself, it must act in accordance with international law. Hamas is not Palestine – there is no justification for the collective punishment of the people of Gaza.”

Sarwar also said he still believes “in the cause of peace” and a two-state solution which “delivers peace, freedom and security” to both Israel and Palestine and “the end to occupation and illegal siege”.

Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton praised the “quiet dignity” with which the First Minister has carried himself since the Hamas attack, saying that both those in Gaza and Israel “have the right to live free from fear”.