Emily Hand
Emily HandCourtesy of the family

The family of eight-year-old Emily Hand, who was thought to have been murdered by Hamas terrorists during the attack on Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7, has received word that Emily was in fact not murdered, but was kidnapped to Gaza.

Emily’s father Thomas, who has Irish citizenship, told CNN several weeks ago that he was relieved to find out that Emily died and was not kidnapped to Gaza by the terrorists who invaded the kibbutz.

“When we found out that Emily was dead, we went ‘yes!’ and smiled, because that is the best news of the possibilities I knew,” he said at the time.

“If you know anything about what they do to people in Gaza, that is worse than death. That is worse than death, the way they treat you. They'd have no food, they'd have no water…she'd be in a dark room…and terrified every minute, hour, day, and possible years to come, so death was a blessing. An absolute blessing,” the father added.

The Irish Times reported on Sunday that Emily’s family was informed of the development by Israeli authorities last week.

In a Facebook post three days ago, Thomas Hand said that Narkis, the mother of his two older children had been “definitely murdered” by Hamas. Emily’s reported death, he said, had been “an identity mistake”.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it “is aware of the case of Emily Hand and is providing consular assistance to her family. We will not be commenting further at this time.”

Natty Virado, the boyfriend of Emily’s sister Natalie, confirmed to The Irish Times on Sunday that the family were informed five days ago that Israeli intelligence, based on information obtained from Gaza, now believes that there is a “high chance” that Emily is alive and is being held in captivity in Gaza, along with her friend from Be’eri where she was staying at a sleepover, and the friend’s mother.