An emotional Humza Yousaf broke down in tears as he spoke about how “powerless” he feels to help his family trapped in Gaza.

The First Minister also revealed how difficult it had been to speak to his four-year-old daughter about the fate of her grandmother.

The comments came as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the north of Gaza following an Israeli order to evacuate. 

The Israel Defense Forces gave the 1.1m civilians living in the territory 24 hours to move south of the Wadi Gaza, a wetland that cuts across the Palestinian territory.

The order comes ahead of a likely ground invasion in response to last weekend's brutal Hamas attack that left more than 1,300 people dead.

The terror group's victims included grandfather Bernard Cowan, who grew up in Glasgow before moving to Israel.

He was shot twice in his kitchen.

The Herald: Humza Yousaf comforts the mother of Bernard Cowan

On Thursday, Mr Yousaf comforted Mr Cowan's mother when they both attended a service of solidarity at Giffnock Newton Mearns Synagogue in East Renfrewshire.

He told those gathered "Your grief is my grief."

READ MORE:  Yousaf mother-in-law's plea ahead of 'impossible' Gaza evacuation

In an interview with Sky News, the First Minister criticised Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, saying he had failed to respond to a letter about in-laws, Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla.

The SNP leader said Mr Cleverly should have “picked up the phone” to give assurances the Foreign Office was working to get his relatives out of the war-torn region.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Yousaf said: “I am disappointed I have to say that James Cleverly himself hasn’t been in touch because we have told them there are two UK citizens – and he was in Israel, he was not necessarily far away from Gaza – not suggesting he should have gone but he could have clearly picked up the phone to give me an assurance that they are working day and night to get those two UK citizens out of Gaza.”

Asked how he felt about the lack of communication from the top of the UK Government, Mr Yousaf said: “Well, pretty angry that the Foreign Secretary… I am not necessarily expecting the Prime Minister to pick up the phone.

“But I would expect the Foreign Secretary… not just for me, I have also asked for other details around other Scots that might be trapped in Gaza, other Scots in Israel that might be looking to get out.

“But the fact that the Foreign Secretary has so far ignored my letter but also not been in touch makes me angry.

“I’d be more interested in getting the Foreign Secretary to speak up about a humanitarian corridor to allow food supplies to come in and to allow the people of Gaza to leave."

However, according to Politico, Mr Cleverly did raise Mr Yousaf’s concerns with the Israeli government.

Speaking about his family, Mr Yousaf told Sky News: “We look at our phones every night. My wife will look at her phone every hour, because at night is when we are most distressed, as you can imagine.

"And I do not know, I genuinely do not know if I will see my mother-in-law and father-in-law again.

“Nadia doesn't know if she will see her mum and dad again. All we can do is watch the news, look at the rolling coverage, wait for messages and then go hours without seeing messages and hope and pray.”

Mr Yousaf said his youngest daughter, Amal, asked him if “granny would be back in time for Halloween”, and that they had told her she was “scared of the thunder”.

They told her that she would be back, but Mr Yousaf told Sky News: “We honestly don’t know if she will.”

READ MORE: Sarwar and Ross show public support for FM's family in Gaza

Earlier on Friday, Mr Yousaf shared a video recorded by his mother-in-law, a retired nurse from Dundee who was visiting family in Gaza when Saturday's terror attack took place in Israel.

In the clip, an emotional Ms El-Nakla says this will be her last film.

“Everybody from Gaza is moving towards where we are. One million people. No food, no water and still they're bombing them as they leave.

“Where are they going to put them?

“But my thought is all these people in the hospital cannot be evacuated.

“Where's humanity? Where's people's hearts in the world to let this happen in this day and age? May God help us. Goodbye.”

READ MORE: Service of solidarity for those killed in Hamas terror attack

Retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza have already caused chaos, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and leading to shortages of food, water and fuel.

Gaza’s health ministry said that 1,537 Palestinians, including 500 children, had been killed this week.

The United Nations has “strongly appealed” for the evacuation call to be rescinded, warning that it risked turning “what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”

They said it would be “impossible” to carry out such a movement of people “without devastating humanitarian consequences.”