The mother-in-law of Scotland’s First Minister said she experienced a “living nightmare” in Gaza having been stuck there for four weeks amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, the parents of Mr Yousaf’s wife Nadia, travelled to the region last month to visit relatives but became trapped when Israel retaliated for the Hamas incursion last month.
The couple were able to return to Scotland in November after being permitted to pass through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.
Ms El-Nakla, from Dundee, told Sky News the experience was a “living nightmare” when bombings began in the region.
She said: “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.”
The couple managed the leave the region on November 3 after two failed attempts and losing hope “so many times” amid fears they would never return home.
Ms El-Nakla said she had “left my heart in Gaza” when they were finally able to escape.
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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