February 27, 2024

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Gaza hostage release, deaths, news and more

Gaza hostage release, deaths, news and more

Father describes how his young daughter Emily Hand escaped from a Hamas prison

Thomas Hand, father of 9-year-old Emily Hand, one of the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7. (Credit: CNN)

Her father, Thomas Hand, told CNN that Emily Hand had to run from house to house after being forced to relocate by Hamas as Israeli forces attacked Gaza.

“It’s terrifying. Being dragged, dragged, pushed… probably under fire,” he said on Tuesday.

It’s one of the details her daughter slowly shares about what happened after she was abducted on Oct. 7 and taken to Gaza, which she now calls “Betty.”

“She’s letting go, little by little,” Guy said.

“We will only know what she really went through when she speaks,” he told CNN. “I need to know a lot of information […] But you have to let them say it when they’re ready.”

Emily, who was held captive for 9 years, was arrested along with her friend Hila Rodem-Shosani and Hila’s mother Raya before the girls were released last Saturday.

Raya cared for Hila and Emily as if they were her own daughters, Hand said. He said Hila’s separation from her mother, two nights before the girls were due to be released, was “another step in cruelty”, contrary to agreements reached between Hamas and Israel.

From death to captivity and hope

Emily was sleeping in Hila’s home when Hamas terrorists attacked Kibbutz Biri. Kai was trapped in his house for hours, unable to reach his daughter, as the community was devastated: some 130 residents died and others were captured.

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About two days later, the kibbutz leaders informed him that they had found Emily’s body. He told CNN: “They just said, ‘We found Emily. She’s dead.’ I said, ‘Yes!’ I laughed because it was the best news of possibilities I knew. So death is a blessing, an absolute blessing.”

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