Scotland’s leader fears for wife’s parents ‘trapped’ in Gaza

LONDON (Reuters) -Scotland’s leader Humza Yousaf said on Monday that his wife’s parents were “trapped” in Gaza, leaving him worried if they will survive an attack by Israel

The parents of Yousaf’s wife were in Gaza visiting family when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel over the weekend.

“They’re trapped in Gaza. They’re being told by the Israelis to leave Gaza, they’ve been told that Gaza will be effectively turned into rubble but they have nowhere to go, they can’t leave, Gaza is under a blockade,” Yousaf said in an interview with the BBC.

Israel has been conducting air strikes on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, killing hundreds of people in retaliation for one of the bloodiest attacks in its history when Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis and abducted dozens more.

The Israeli military said it had called up an unprecedented 300,000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, signs it could be planning a ground assault there to defeat Hamas.

“Even with the assistance of the foreign office, they cannot guarantee any safe passage to any of the borders. Therefore, you can imagine my wife and I are sick with worry about whether or not, frankly, our parents – my in-laws – will survive,” he said.

Yousaf, a 38-year-old practising Muslim, won a contest to lead the governing Scottish National Party earlier this year, making him the first Muslim to lead a country in Western Europe in recent history.

Scotland has a semi-autonomous government, which is in charge of issues such as health and education. Other responsibilities like immigration and defence are controlled by the British government in London.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskillEditing by Bill Berkrot and Christina Fincher)