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hamas captivity

8-year-old now believed to be kidnapped by Hamas, not murdered

The family was notified that Emily is probably alive in Gaza

Emily Hand (Photo courtesy of the family)

Shortly after the brutal Hamas assault against Israelis on Oct. 7, a moving interview with a father, whose daughter was thought to have been murdered, went viral.

Irish-born Thomas Hand recounted how he had reacted to the news that his 8-year-old daughter Emily had been killed, in an interview to CNN.

“I went, 'Yes!' And I smiled, cause that is the best news of the possibilities I knew,” he said, adding that, in his opinion, being kidnapped in Gaza was “worse than death.”

Shockingly, however, the family was informed on Oct. 31 that Emily is now thought to be alive and having been taken into the Gaza Strip as a hostage.

Emily’s sister Natalie told Israeli Channel 12 news: “We were told that she had been murdered. We were in mourning. On October 31, they told us that it was highly likely that she had been abducted.”

Natalie said that Emily was at the house of a friend for a sleepover on Oct. 7 and that her friend and her mother were thought to have been murdered but are now also considered to have been kidnapped.

She also noted that Emily has Irish citizenship and that the Irish authorities visited the family and promised to do what they could to help, though their capacity to do so is limited, Natalie added.

During the interview, Natalie directed a statement toward her sister: “I want to tell you that we are doing everything to get you home. We know you are being held hostage. We love you so much and miss you.”

Emily has not have an easy life so far, according to Natalie. At the age of two, her mother died of cancer and Thomas Hand became her guardian and raised her, together with Natalie’s mother, who is believed to have murdered by Hamas during the invasion.

“Her grandmother, I and her murdered stepmother raised her together. My father does not speak Hebrew and my grandmother only Romanian. We took her to school and everything needed. We were together."

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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