WHEN nine-year-old hostage Emily Hand was finally freed from her 50 days of Hamas hell – her distraught father wouldn’t let her out of his sight.
AFPThomas Hand revealed that his daughter is slowly recovering – but there is a long road ahead[/caption]
ReutersThe moment he was reunited with his daughter who turned nine in captivity[/caption]
Dan CharityEmily, 9, was too scared to speak when she was released from captivity but is now at ‘full volume’[/caption]
“When she first came back, we were very happy but just heartbroken,” said Thomas, 63.
He told The Times: “She wasn’t physically injured at all. She wasn’t molested, she wasn’t hurt in any way. But just it was more on the mental side.”
By the time she was released, the bubbly Disney fan, who had loved to sing and dance, was rail-thin, glassy-eyed, frightened of loud noises and too scared to speak.
“They were told, they’d better all be quiet or they’d get killed,” said Thomas, who moved from Ireland to Israel 30 years ago. “They were quiet, believe me.”
In his first interview after she walked free on November 25, he told The Sun: “She was a happy noisy kid, now she whispers.
“She’s been terrorised by terrorists in hell but as her dad it’s my job to make it better and I will.
“It’s going to be a long road but we’ll get there.”
But weeks have passed and now he is marvelling at the strength of his brave young daughter who is managing to bounce back, slowly but surely.
She is going to therapy, sailing, zip-lining, horse riding and learning to be a child again.
“Now she’s all full volume. She doesn’t say much about what happened to her in Gaza. Just little bits every now and then.”
“I guess that just shows how resilient kids are compared to adults. We’re still suffering,” he added.
Tom was trapped in his home’s safe room for 19 hours as 400 Hamas beasts rampaged through Be’eri kibbutz before he was freed under fire from the terrorists.
The grieving father-of-three then presumed Emily had been killed, saying he felt “relieved” at the idea she was no longer suffering at the hands of Hamas.
But she was not dead.
As part of a prisoner exchange during a week-long truce in November, Emily – still dressed in her favourite Donald Duck Disney pyjamas – was able to finally fling herself into her father’s arms.
Thomas told The Sun back in November: “She ran to me and hugged me but she was clearly in a state of shock because she believed I had been kidnapped as well.
“She looked at me as if to say, ‘What are you doing here?’
“It was only then I realised that she had no idea what had happened to the rest of the kibbutz.”
He revealed that she had not been held in the labyrinth of Hamas terror tunnels dubbed the “Gaza Metro but had been dragged house-to-house to evade Israel’s army.
“She must have been absolutely terrified – an eight-year-old girl being led by strangers from one blown-up shell of a house to the next in the middle of a war zone.”
With tears in his eyes, he said: “She’s lost at least half a stone and the hospital have given her multivitamins with a big focus on vitamin B1, which they say is the most important one.
“She must have been kept in the dark because she’s pale – I have never seen her so white.
“It emphasises her big blue eyes because she lost all the weight – and when she was first handed over the sparkle in her eyes had gone.
“They were very glassy as she was so shocked, so traumatised.
“But slowly but surely life is coming back to her – and it’s my job now to make sure that happens.”
Today marks 100 days of war and 100 days since Emily, along with some 250 other hostages, were dragged into Gaza during Hamas’s bloody October 7 attacks.
Israel says 132 captives still remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to be dead.
Over 120,000 Israelis have spent 24-hours straight rallying in the capital to demand the release of the remaining hostages.
The crowds carried a massive banner that read: “And the world remains silent,” and chanted that the hostages must be released “Now, now, now”.
“We will continue to come here week after week until everybody is released,” Edan Begerano, 47, said.
On Saturday, the shattered families of hostages still held by Hamas unveiled a mock terror tunnel in the heart of Israel’s capital to remind the world of the horrors they are still experiencing underneath Gaza.
Israel’s bombardment and invasion into the Gaza Strip has killed at least 23,843 people, according to the latest toll from the Hamas-run health ministry.
The death toll claims cannot be independently verified and are disputed by Israel.
The United Nations said on Saturday that the war was “staining humanity” on the eve of its 100th day.
The Israeli siege has sparked acute shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel in Gaza, where the health system is collapsing.
The UN estimates 1.9 million – nearly 85 per cent of the population — have been displaced by the fighting.
The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, said “the massive death, destruction, displacement, hunger, loss and grief of the last 100 days are staining our shared humanity”.
An entire generation of children in Gaza were being “traumatised”, diseases were spreading and the clock is “ticking fast towards famine,” he warned on a visit to the Strip.
This week, South Africa launched a case in the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of committed genocide against Palestinians.
The case at the Hague seeks a halt to the military campaign, which Israel stressed to the court was in self-defence and not aimed at Palestinian residents.
But Netanyahu insisted no court or military foe could stop Israel from achieving its aim of destroying Hamas.
“It is possible and necessary to continue until victory and we will do it,” he added, claiming most Hamas battalions in Gaza had been “eliminated”.
Sky NewsHand told The Sun its ‘his job’ to make sure those 50 terrible days do not define her life[/caption]
Doug SeeburgRoughly 132 hostages are still being held by Hamas, 25 of which Israel believes are dead[/caption]
Hamas terrorists handing over Emily alongside another hostage in a prisoner swap in November
GettyHand said that even though his daughter is home ‘we’re still suffering’[/caption]Leave a comment