Father of 8-year-old Irish-Israeli hostage says was shocked to learn daughter is alive

Thomas Hand says family’s ‘mindset changed immediately’ upon receiving news daughter Emily is alive in Gaza; ‘mourning has ended, now we must do everything to bring her back home’

Thomas Hand, father of 8-year-old Emily, who was previously considered dead for a month but was later revealed to likely have been kidnapped alive to Gaza, said on Monday that he received the news with utter shock.
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"Our mindset changed immediately; we realized that we had to shift our approach. The mourning has ended, and now we must do everything to bring her back home," he said in an interview with Ynet.
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אמילי ותומס הנד
אמילי ותומס הנד
Emily and Thomas Hand
(Photo: CNN)
Thomas Hand received the news of his daughter's death days after the massacre at Kibbutz Be'eri. In an interview he gave to CNN at that time, he shared that upon hearing of her death, he felt a sense of relief because the thought of her being kidnapped by Hamas terrorists terrified him even more.
However, it later emerged that the report of Emily's death did not come from official sources, and since her body was never recovered, she was officially listed as missing.
Authorities concluded that she had been, in fact, kidnapped after the kibbutz was thoroughly searched and Emily's body was not found.
Hand recounted, "We were told that in the house where she was, no blood of hers was found anywhere, nor was any found nearby. In fact, no sign was discovered that suggests she is not alive, so they assume that she was kidnapped alive to Gaza and is there now."
Contrary to what he said last month, Hand is happy about the hope that has been rekindled. "I hope that she will return to us, and I pray that one day we will be able to hug and be together," he said.
At the same time, he is very worried. "I don't know if she is receiving food and water, if she can brush her teeth or go to the bathroom, if she has the basic living conditions. The terrible feeling for me as a father is to think about what is happening with her and how she feels without her mother and father by her side."
He says he assumes that if she returns safely, she will suffer from trauma and will need therapy. "We don't know what she has seen and what she has experienced there."
Now, Hand is appealing to the government for help. "I hope that each and every one of them will do their utmost to quickly return those who have been abducted, as if it were their own children there. At the very least, the children and infants must be brought back as soon as possible; that's the bare minimum. They do not belong there; they need to come home immediately."
Thomas Hand talks to CNN about his daughter Emily who was presumed killed in Hamas terror attack
(Video: From X)
Hand is also in contact with the Irish embassy as Emily holds Irish citizenship. "They are trying to help us by applying pressure on Egypt in the negotiations for the return of the hostages."
After the massacre when he believed his daughter was killed, Hand spoke of a remarkable girl who loved to dance, sing, and play instruments. "She could do anything she set her mind to, and if she didn't succeed at first, she would keep trying until she did. She was a true leader; people were simply drawn to being around her."
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