Emily Hand.

Irish/Israeli Girl Might be Alive

An Irish-Israeli girl believed to have been murdered in the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7 is now believed to have been kidnapped and being held in Gaza.

Natalie Hand, the half-sister of Emily Hand (8), said the family have been informed by the military that “the first line was that she’s kidnapped and alive."

Emily’s father is Thomas Hand from Dublin. He has dual Irish and Israeli citizenship. He had been told in the days immediately after the attack that his daughter was among those killed.

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Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1, Natalie, whose mother was killed in the Hamas attack, said: “And we just want to get her back and she’s an Irish citizen and we’re asking all the help we can from you guys (in Ireland).”

She said there is a “high possibility” that she is alive. “I will do everything I can to get her back,” she added.

“Grieving about my mom and her and just, you know, we’re like zombies,” she said. “We have no tears left. We’re just broken. And now we got hope back and we are strong now and we’ll do anything.

“I have too many videos of her laughing and speaking. I want to hear that again. I just want to say Emily we’re on the way and we will have her back, I know that.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee told RTÉ: “We are doing everything that we can to support this family and others, to make sure that people can be returned home safely to their families.

“We have called from the very beginning for Hamas to release any hostages that they might have. Every effort has been made to support them. It’s a hugely sensitive time at the moment.”

Emily had been staying in a friend’s house at a sleepover when the October 7 attack took place. However, following DNA tests, authorities in Israel now say that she is not among the dead.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said: “We were made aware of the situation in respect of Emily and our ambassador in Israel has been in touch with the family and it’s very sensitive.”