Humza Yousaf said his family in Gaza have been reduced to drinking seawater as Israel's siege of the Palestinian enclave continues.

“I spoke to my mother-in-law this morning … the situation is dire and desperate for them,” he told the PA.

“They’re out of clean water, they’ve got water from seawater, effectively, and the bombing continues.”

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf:' In-laws still alive in Gaza' after days without contact

Israeli troops and tanks have pushed deeper into Gaza, in what Benjamin Netanyahu has described as the “second stage” of the war ignited by Hamas’s brutal October 7 incursion which left 1,400 people dead and saw more than 200 taken hostage. 

Though Israel ordered Palestinians to head to the south of the strip, hundreds of thousands remain, in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones.

The Herald:

The death toll among Palestinians passed 8,300, mostly women and children, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry said on Monday. Another 1.4 million people have fled their homes.

On Sunday, the largest convoy of humanitarian aid yet — 33 lorries — entered the territory from Egypt.

Relief workers say the amount is still far less than what is needed for the population of 2.2 million people.

On Saturday, crowds of people broke into four facilities and took food supplies in what the UN called a sign that civil order is starting to break down amid increasing desperation.

READ MORE: Starmer 'gravely misrepresented' meeting at Mosque

Mr Yousaf's in-laws travelled to Gaza from their home in Dundee, at the start of the month, becoming trapped after the October 7 attack. 

The First Minister said “above and beyond” his in-laws, the “overwhelming majority” of the population of Gaza were “suffering for a crime that, of course, they did not commit”.

“I plead with those that are in charge and responsible to agree to a ceasefire,” he said.

“And that, of course, is all parties have to agree to a ceasefire to allow significant aid to come in and for the Rafah crossing to open to allow people to leave.”

Last week, the First Minister wrote to all UK political leaders calling for them to back his calls for a ceasefire.

He received a response from Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton – who supported the demand. 

While Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has not replied to the First Minister, he has voiced support for a ceasefire.

READ MORE: Pressure on Starmer as Sarwar calls for ceasefire in Gaza

The MSP's intervention last week came just hours after Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said a ceasefire was vital to avoid a “substantial military escalation”.

Sir Keir Starmer has so far resisted calls to support a ceasefire. He backs the UK Government's demand for temporary pauses in the fighting to allow aid in.

In an interview with Sky News on Monday, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Darren Jones, said that, while the opinions of Mr Sarwar matter to the Labour Party, “they are not part of the Shadow Cabinet and its the Shadow Cabinet that decides what Labour Party policy is in Westminster and that’s what’s happened”.

Responding, the First Minister said: “I would say its disappointing to see a member of Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet essentially dismissing Sadiq Khan, essentially dismissing Anas Sarwar’s opinion, saying that its the Shadow Cabinet that makes these decisions, not the more peripheral figures, which I think is unfortunate.”

He added: “I do applaud the fact that Sadiq Khan and Anas Sarwar have gone against Keir Starmer’s position and called for that ceasefire.”