The young daughter of a Dublin man who was thought to have been killed by Hamas earlier in October is now believed to be alive and being held hostage in Gaza, according to reports.
Thomas Hand lived at a kibbutz called Be'eri's, a close-knit community close to the border with Gaza with his daughter, eight-year-old Emily Hand, who has been missing since October 7. Emily had gone for a sleepover at a friend’s house and was having a “girly night” when Hamas is said to have stormed their kibbutz, killing around 120 people and kidnapping many others.
It was believed Emily had been killed that night, however, now it has emerged the eight-year-old may still be alive and held hostage in Gaza. The IrishStar.com reports that Emily's family has said Israeli Defense Forces now believe there is a "high possibility" that Emily is being held hostage in Gaza. The Irish Embassy to Israel also confirmed that Emily is believed to have been abducted and not murdered.
The publication adds that as a result of DNA testing carried out at the scene of the attack, the authorities now believe Emily was not among those whose remains were found at Kibbutz Be'eri - leading police to believe she could still be alive and being held hostage in Gaza. In an interview with Israeli news station Channel 12, the older sister of Emily, Natalie Hand, said that their family was notified by Israeli authorities five days ago that Emily is thought to be alive and held hostage in Gaza.
The Times of Israel quotes her as saying: "We were told that she had been murdered. We were in mourning.
She added: “On 31 October, they told us that it was highly likely that she had been abducted."
Speaking directly to Emily on the station, her sister added: “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.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told the Irish Mirror: “The Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of the case of Emily Hand and is providing consular assistance to her family. We will not be commenting further at this time.”
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