HUMZA Yousaf has restated his readiness to allow injured civilians in Gaza to be treated in Scottish hospitals.

The First Minister, whose wife Nadia El-Nakla's parents are stuck in the strip which is under attack from Israel, last month suggested the move if casualties can be medically evacuated from the zone.

More than 9,000 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in air strikes on Gaza by the Israeli military, since it began the attacks in reprisals against the attacks on Israel by Hamas on October 7.

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Hospitals in Gaza are running out of vital resources, including of water, medicines and energy to power equipment such as incubators for premature babies.

Mr Yousaf was asked in Holyrood today for an update on the Scottish Government’s engagement with the United Kingdom Government on any plans for the medical evacuation of injured civilians from Gaza in the light of his commitment to treat injured civilians in Scottish hospitals.

He told MSPs that the people of Palestine and Gaza "should not have to leave their land, but many of them have been forced to leave—in particular, those who have been moved from north Gaza to south Gaza".

He added: "Many people are lying injured and dying in hospitals, which are running out of fuel and medical supplies. When we can bring those injured people for treatment in Scotland and the UK, Scotland is certainly prepared for that.

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"Our officials are in regular contact with their counterparts at the UK Department of Health and Social Care. No request has been made for the UK to receive medical evacuations from Gaza, but we hope that, if that request comes, the UK and Scotland will be ready to play their parts."

Mr Yousaf went on: "I reiterate the calls that I have been making for many weeks now: for an immediate ceasefire to allow the humanitarian corridor to open; to allow supplies, including fuel, to come into Gaza; and, of course, to stop the bombing and killing. We have seen horrendous scenes during the past week, let alone the past three and a half weeks—in particular, the sickening bombing of Jabalia refugee camp, which must be condemned in the strongest possible manner."

Ms El-Nakla's parents Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, travelled to Gaza at the beginning of October to visit Mr El-Nakla's 93-year-old mother when Hamas attacked Israel, prompting reprisals and senior Israeli officials to declare a "siege" of the territory. Ms El-Nakla's brother is a doctor in Gaza.

The Herald: A man, sitting on debris, reacts as Palestinians conduct a search and rescue operation after the second bombardment of the Israeli army in the last 24 hours at Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza City, Gaza on November 01, 2023. Dozens of people were reportedly killed and wounded. (Photo by Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images).

Israel has cut off water, food, electricity and medical supplies to the territory, while launching a series of devastating airstrikes.

Ms El-Nakla's has given a series of interviews to raise the desperate plight of her parents, her brother and his young family as well as the millions of other civilians Gaza trapped in Gaza.

At least 9,061 Palestinians have been killed in the war, mostly women and children, and more than 32,000 people have been wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Thursday, without providing a breakdown between civilians and fighters.

The figure is without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence, and is around four times the toll from the 2014 Gaza war, which lasted more than six weeks.

More than 3,700 Palestinian children have been killed in 25 days of fighting, and bombings have driven more than half the territory's 2.3 million people from their homes, while food, water and fuel run low.

Meanwhile today, Israeli troops are advancing towards Gaza City.

With no end in sight after weeks of heavy fighting, US and Arab mediators have intensified efforts to ease Israel's siege of the Hamas-ruled enclave and called for at least a brief halt to the hostilities in order to aid civilians.

President Joe Biden suggested a humanitarian "pause" on Wednesday, as an apparent agreement among the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, allowed hundreds of Palestinians with foreign passports and dozens of wounded to leave Gaza for the first time. Dozens more left on Thursday.

Arab countries, including those allied with the US and at peace with Israel, have expressed mounting unease with the war.

Jordan recalled its ambassador from Israel and told Israel's envoy to remain out of the country until there is a halt to the war and the "humanitarian catastrophe" it is causing.

The war, the fifth and by far deadliest in Gaza, began when Hamas launched a bloody rampage into Israel on October 7, killing hundreds of men, women and children. Some 240 were taken captive.

The departure of Palestinians through the Rafah crossing into Egypt on Wednesday came after weeks of talks.

It was first time people left Gaza other than four hostages released by Hamas and another rescued by Israeli forces.

Israel has also allowed more than 260 trucks carrying food and medicine through the crossing, but aid workers say it is not nearly enough.

At least 335 foreign passport holders left on Wednesday and approximately another 100 left on Thursday, according to Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Crossings Authority. Seventy-six Palestinian patients, along with their companions, were also evacuated, he said.

Egypt has said it will not accept an influx of Palestinian refugees, fearing Israel will not allow them to return to Gaza after the war.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remain in the path of the fighting in northern Gaza, despite Israel's repeated calls for them to evacuate to the territory's south, which is also being bombarded.

Air strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday destroyed apartment buildings in the Jabaliya refugee camp near Gaza City, but the number of dead and wounded remained unknown. Israel said the strikes killed militants and demolished Hamas tunnels.

Casualties on both sides are expected to rise as Israeli troops advance towards the dense residential neighbourhoods of Gaza City. Israeli officials say Hamas's military infrastructure, including tunnels, is concentrated in the city and accuse Hamas of hiding among civilians.