Hamas Releases 9-year-old Girl Assumed Dead in Attack
A young girl Emily Hand, who was reported to be among those killed in the October 7 attack, has been released by Hamas. The family of the nine-year-old was informed on October 31 that she was alive and had been abducted by the militant group.
Thomas Hand, Emily’s father, said in an interview that his daughter was at a sleepover at Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7 when Hamas attacked the Israeli settlements. He added that he had been informed by the Israeli military that Emily had been killed. But weeks later, the military informed the family that she may be alive as her body had not been found.
Emily was released on Saturday with the second batch of hostages – seven children aged from three years to 16, and six women aged from 18 years to 67.
Girl Reunited With Family
And now the little girl has been reunited with her family after 50 days in Hamas captivity in Gaza. “Emily has come back to us!” the family said in a statement. “We can’t find the words to describe our emotions after 50 challenging and complicated days.”
Emily’s father, who is originally from Dublin, had urged the Irish Government to do all it can to secure her release. Thomas Hand had moved to Israel more than 30 years ago as a kibbutz volunteer. He said securing Emily’s freedom was his reason for living and getting up in the morning every day.
Emily turned 9 years old in Hamas captivity.
Hamas Delayed Release of Second Batch
The release of the second batch of hostages came about after a seven hour delay because Israel violated the terms of the truce deal. Hamas alleged that the aid deliveries permitted by Israel fell short of what was promised and that not enough aid was reaching northern Gaza.
Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official, said Israel is putting the deal in danger. “We have spoken to the mediators about that.” Israel is adamant to get out as many hostages from Hamas as possible. The Israeli government said truce can be extended an extra day for every additional 10 hostages freed. Mediators have been ensuring that the deal continues smoothly. Meanwhile, the UN said the pause enabled it to scale up the delivery of food, water and medicine to the largest volume since the resumption of aid conveys on October 21. It has been able to deliver 129,000 liters of fuel.