'Every day she must be asking why Daddy hasn't come to save her' says father of kidnapped 9-year-old

Emily Hand was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be'eri by the terror group on October 7


Thomas Hand, father of nine-year-old Emily Hand, cries during a press conference by families of hostages held by Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza, at the embassy of Israel in London on November 20, 2023. Fighting raged in Gaza, more than six weeks after a shock Hamas attack sparked an air and ground offensive by Israel, which has vowed to destroy the Palestinian militant group. In Gaza, around 13,000 people, more than 5,500 of them children, have been killed in the conflict, officials in the Hamas-run territory have said. About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel during the October 7 attack and around 240 taken hostage, according to Israeli officials. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

"Every day is a nightmare." These are the words of Thomas Hand, whose daughter has spent the past five weeks held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Hand's daughter Emily, who turned 9 last week, was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be'eri by Hamas terrorists and taken to Gaza on October 7. Her birthday was marked by a powerful display outside the international headquarters of Save the Children.

Emily was taken by Hamas while on a sleepover with her friend in the kibbutz over the holiday of Simchat Torah.

Initially, authorities at the kibbutz told Thomas that his daughter was likely to have been killed. The family’s plight went viral after he stated in an interview that his first reaction to the news that his daughter had been murdered instead of captured had been relief.

However, roughly a month later, the IDF confirmed that Emily’s body had not been found among the remains of some 120 people killed in Kibbutz Be’eri, and that no traces of blood had been found in the house where she was staying.

Moreover, phones belonging to members of the family with whom she had been staying were tracked to Gaza. 

In a press conference at the Israeli embassy, a distraught Hand said he was living through a "nightmare" and getting Emily back was his "reason for living".

He added: "I pray I get Emily back. I don't know what condition she's going to be in, but she's going to be very broken mentally and physically and we'll have to fix that.

"It's going to take a long time to fix that. That's what we've got to do and we will do it no matter how long it takes.

"That's my prime focus, my reason for living and getting up in the morning every day."

Hand, who was wearing a T-shirt with a "Bring them home now" message on it, said that the taking of hostages was "pure terrorism, pure evil".

He also said that getting "proof of life" was the "most crucial thing that will keep them (hostages) alive for us now".

Hand added: "Hamas in their psychological warfare tactics are not allowing the Red Cross to get any proof of life", adding that this was "carrying on our pain and torment".

The father went on to say that he was horrified by the thought of "the sheer terror of a nine-year-old girl down in those dark tunnels never seeing the light of day".

"She must be saying every day: 'Where's my daddy, why hasn't he come to save me?"

The Israeli embassy said it believed 240 hostages are being held in Gaza, including at least 30 children.

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