Home » First Minister Humza Yousaf’s Mother-in-Law Describes Gaza ‘Nightmare’
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First Minister Humza Yousaf’s Mother-in-Law Describes Gaza ‘Nightmare’

The first minister’s mother-in-law has described the “living nightmare” of being trapped in Gaza for four weeks during the Israel-Hamas war.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged were visiting family when Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October.

She admitted she felt she may die during their ordeal but that she had “left my heart in Gaza” when they were finally able to flee.

The couple’s daughter Nadia is married to Humza Yousaf.

In an interview with Beth Rigby for Sky News, Ms El-Nakla said: “I [wake] up in the middle of the night and I hear silence in the dark and then I remember I’m home and that I’m safe. And I feel very grateful for that.

“You really do think every day or every night you will die, and the family that are under your roof as well. And that’s hard to comprehend and hard to get over.”

After two failed attempts, the couple – who live in Dundee – were eventually able to enter Egypt via the Rafah Border Crossing on 3 November.

Ms El-Nakla said that was the moment she knew she was safe, but it was then when exhaustion hit.

“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.

“And it is such a relief, you can’t imagine, but again your heart is torn. I left my heart in Gaza. I didn’t bring it home with me.”

Her daughter Nadia, who is a councillor in Dundee, said she had been “holding onto hope” but imagined that she may not see her parents again.

When the conflict began on Saturday 7 October, Nadia messaged her parents and said: “Your window is going to be small, you need to leave. It’s going to become really, really a bad, dangerous situation for everyone in Gaza.”

During their first attempt to flee to safety on 14 October, the couple were driven to the border by a neighbour.

“This is 15 minutes in a fast drive, 22 minutes on Google it tells you it takes. But to me, it could have been 15,000 miles it felt so far away,” she said.

They were told to turn back, and while on the phone to Nadia the line cut out following an explosion. Nadia said she “fell to her knees” and it took around 10 minutes for her to know her parents were still alive.

Nadia said that was her lowest point. “We then had to travel to Aberdeen because the [SNP] conference was about to start. So, I was crying the whole journey to Aberdeen.

‘Changed forever’

“That for me was the worst – worst day in terms of my own mental health and dealing with it.”

When the couple eventually crossed over into Egypt, Ms El-Nakla said she could see the “desperation” on the faces of those trying to flee.

She said: “I wouldn’t wish that situation on my worst enemy.”

Ms El-Nakla said she was getting stronger every day, but added: “Unfortunately, until our family and people that we know and love and everyone in Gaza are safe, I don’t think we will get over it and I think my life has changed forever.”

The family are calling for a full ceasefire and a two-state solution.

Source : BBC