The 50-day nightmare is over for a man who had flown to New York City on Nov. 17 on the day of his daughter’s ninth birthday as a captive of Hamas.
He was trying to publicize the plight of all the hostages as part of the Bring Them Home Now campaign.
Thomas Hand was originally told his daughter had died in the Oct. 7th attack by Hamas, but subsequently learned she had been captured. He was in NYC on earlier this month prior to the release of his daughter Emily in a bid to publicize the plight of all the hostages as part of the Bring Them Home Now campaign.
“I had hoped she’d for a miracle that she’d be home for her birthday,” Hand told Straus News that day. “Now I hope for a miracle that she will be home for Christmas.”
On Nov. 25th, his wish was granted, and Emily was among the hostages who were freed amid a ceasefire by the Israelis.
But he indicated the release was far from problem free. He told CNN that his daughter thought she had been gone “a year.” And he said he had to put his ear next to her mouth in order to hear here because she spoke in a barely audible whisper since she was freed. He said her captives had moved her and a friend from house to house as the Israeli bombardment began and she had been instructed that she had to remain silent.
The Gaza Health Ministry says over 11,000 people have been killed since Israel began its counteroffensive.
Hand is from Dublin. Emily’s birth mother had died of cancer when she was 2 1/2 years old. Hand had remarried but then divorced his second wife, Nacis, who was raising Emily in Israel. Nacis was killed in the Oct. 7 attack. in Kibbutz Be’eri
Emily had been at a sleepover with a 13 year old friend who was also abducted from Kibbutz Be’eri in the Oct. 7 attack and freed with her.
The Israel Defense Force released a video that showed her running into her father’s arms at an undisclosed location in Israel. “Emily has come back to us. We are overjoyed to embrace Emily again,” Hand said at the time. He promised to give her the biggest birthday party ever.