Scotland's Humza Yousaf has lost contact with wife's family trapped in Gaza

Humza Yousaf has said he has lost contact with his family who are trapped in Gaza as Israel expands its ground operations overnight.

Scotland's first minister has previously spoken to Sky News about how his wife's parents are "trapped" in Gaza.

The Israeli Defence Forces said tonight that it had "significantly expanded" its ground operations, while there are reports that the internet connectivity in Gaza has completely broken down.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed on social media that Israel was "expanding their military campaign against Hamas".

"The UK's top priority remains the safety of British nationals in Gaza and the region," he said.

"We support Israel's right to self defence, in line with IHL [international human rights law], and continue to push for the protection of Palestinian civilians."

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Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Yousaf said: "Gaza is under intense bombing.

"Telecommunications have been cut. We can't get through to our family who have been trapped in this war zone for almost 3 weeks.

"We can only pray they survive the night. How many more children have to die before the world says enough?"

His plea comes as more senior Labour politicians outside of Westminster broke ranks to call for an immediate ceasefire, putting further pressure on Sir Keir Starmer who is in line with the government in calling for a humanitarian pause only.

London mayor Sadiq Khan, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham are among those who want the Labour leadership to strengthen its position and back a full cessation of violence between Israel and Hamas.

Sir Keir is united with Rishi Sunak, the US, and most recently the EU in pushing for "humanitarian pauses" in the fighting, while supporting Israel's right to defend itself against the militants who launched a wave of bloodshed in the country earlier this month, killing more than 1,400 people, according to authorities.

The Labour leader has angered MPs for not going further, with dozens urging him to back a ceasefire to prevent the conflict from escalating.

Earlier on Friday Mr Yousaf also called for a ceasefire, writing in a letter to UK political leaders, including Mr Sunak, that "the killing of innocent civilians can never be justified, wherever it occurs".

"Israel, like every other country, has a right to protect itself from attack, but in doing so it must comply with international law," he said.

"We should stand together and united in unequivocally calling on all parties to commit to an immediate ceasefire to allow a humanitarian corridor to be opened, so that lifesaving supplies can get into Gaza and innocent civilians who want to leave be given safe passage out.

"The situation in Gaza is at the point of being cataclysmic. All of us must do everything we can to prevent that. There must be no more dithering, or delay, together we must call for an immediate ceasefire."

Mr Sunak revealed earlier this month that the parents of his wife Nadia El Nakla were in Gaza visiting family when Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel.

The first minister said his parents in-law, who live in Dundee, have "been in Gaza and are currently trapped in Gaza, I'm afraid".

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The first minister said both he and his wife "cannot sleep" due to worry for her parents.

"We cannot sleep - we are constantly watching our phones," he said.

When our messages do get through, we're waiting for a reply."

He added: "I'm worried about my family. There will be many people, including in Scotland's Jewish community for example, who will be really worried about their family in Israel that have come to harm.

"My thoughts go out to everybody, because innocent civilians have nothing to do with the conflict, they have nothing to do with Hamas terror, have nothing to do with the loss of life and they're the ones often - innocent people - who are paying the price."