Humza Yousaf’s mother-in-law ‘left heart in Gaza’ after escaping conflict

Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, the parents of Mr Yousaf’s wife Nadia, were visiting relatives last month when the conflict broke out.

Ted Hennessey
Monday 20 November 2023 20:05 GMT
Humza Yousaf’s in-laws were trapped in Gaza during the conflict (Jane Barlow/PA)
Humza Yousaf’s in-laws were trapped in Gaza during the conflict (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf’s mother-in-law has said she left her heart in Gaza having been stuck there amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, the parents of Mr Yousaf’s wife Nadia, were visiting relatives last month when the conflict broke out, leaving them trapped in the Palestinian territory for weeks.

Ms El-Nakla, from Dundee, said she and her husband experienced a “living nightmare” when bombings began in the region.

The couple were able to return to Scotland earlier this month after being permitted to pass through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

Ms El-Nakla told Sky News: “It still feels very surreal, waking up in the middle of the night and I hear silence and in the dark. And then I remember I’m at home and that I’m safe.

“I feel very grateful for that. I walk down to my sister-in-law, who lives five minutes away, in the rain, in the dark, but feeling safe.

“I think no-one can understand how that makes you feel when you’ve been in a situation where you think that you may die.

“Unfortunately, until our family and the people that we know and love and everyone in Gaza are safe, I don’t think we will get it. And I think my life has changed forever.”

Speaking of the conflict, Ms El-Nakla said: “I wouldn’t wish that situation on my worst enemy.”

The couple managed the leave the region on November 3 after two failed attempts.

Ms El-Nakla spoke of losing hope “so many times”, also telling of fears about never getting home.

She added: “I hadn’t slept for 48 hours. I hadn’t slept for nearly three weeks. And you’re just so relieved. But you still don’t believe it and you’re so exhausted.

“Then you get on the bus and you see all these happy children. We were given a bottle of water and a pack of biscuits. And it is such a relief. You can’t imagine.

“But, again, your heart is torn. I left my heart in Gaza and I didn’t bring it home with me.”

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