A young Irish girl feared dead in the October 7 Hamas attacks may still be alive and being held hostage, according to reports.
Eight-year-old Emily Hand was feared dead following the attack on Kibbutz Be’eri.
Hamas killed more than 120 people on the kibbutz and dozens more went missing following the violence.
The girl’s Dublin-born father, Thomas Hand, gave an emotional media interview after being told she was likely murdered in the attack.
Israeli media reported on Sunday that the family had been informed that Emily may be alive and being held hostage in Gaza.
The Israeli Defense Forces reportedly informed them of this possibility on October 31.
The Times of Israel reported that Emily’s sister Natalie had made a national television call for her return.
Natalie Hand reportedly told Israel’s Channel 12 that the family was initially informed that Emily had been murdered.
“We were grieving,” she said.
She added: “On October 31, they informed us that it was very likely that she had been kidnapped.”
In a direct message to her sister, Natalie Hand continued: “I want to tell you that we are doing everything we can to bring you home.
“We know you are being held hostage. We love you so much and miss you.”
In a statement, the Irish Foreign Office said: “The Foreign Office is aware of the case of Emily Hand and is providing consular assistance to her family.”
“We will have no further comment at this time.”
In his original interview, Father Thomas said it was a “blessing” that she died rather than being taken hostage.
Hamas murdered more than 120 Be’eri residents, including children, and kidnapped others, leaving a scene of unimaginable devastation.
Thomas recounted how the kibbutz was under fire for about 12 hours after Emily stayed overnight at a neighbor’s house.
The Irish father has lived in Israel for 30 years and lives there with his wife and Emily’s mother, who sadly died of cancer a few years ago.
The tearful father said his little girl had just spent a “girls’ night out” with a friend when the kibbutz was overrun by armed terrorists.
He said, “Until I heard the shots and it was already too late if I had known…”
“I might have been able to run, get her, her friend, the mother and bring her to my house.
“But by the time I realized what was going on, it was already too late.
“I thought of Emily. She’s already lost her mother, I couldn’t risk her losing her father too.”
The tormented father was rescued after waiting two days for answers about the whereabouts and fate of his daughter, who he said was a talented dancer, singer and “funny, bright girl”.
The reports that Emily may still be alive came just days after Israel released chilling videos of Hamas terrorists attacking Israeli men, women and children in their brutal ambush a month ago.
Israeli embassies around the world have reviewed the heartbreaking clips for journalists – including The Sun – showing depraved acts of merciless violence.
Then terrorists in combat fatigues were seen loitering at the security gates of Kibbutz Be’eri – waiting for them to open while some residents approached in a car – and then shot the driver and his passenger.
Once inside, Hamas monsters strolled across manicured lawns and made their prey.
An attacker wearing a headscarf shot and killed an elderly man in his kitchen, who screamed in fear and pain as he fell to the ground.
According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, the Palestinian death toll in the Israel-Hamas war reached 9,700.
More than 140 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank.
Read more on the Irish Sun
More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel, most of them in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that sparked the fighting, and 242 hostages were brought from Israel to Gaza by the terror group.
About 1,100 people have left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing since Wednesday, apparently as part of an agreement between the United States, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which is brokering with Hamas.