An Israeli father, who initially believed his 8-year-old daughter had died at the hands of Hamas, recently learned that she was still alive and hostage in Gaza.
• Read also: Hamas kidnapping is “worse than death”: A father is relieved by his daughter’s death
While passing through the United States, the survivor of the Hamas attack gave several interviews in order to increase pressure on governments and on Hamas to free the victims.
In an interview on “CNN This Morning,” he said he hopes his young daughter, Emily, will be released quickly.
The Irishman, who has lived in Israel for 30 years, said in mid-October that he “felt relieved” when he learned that his young daughter had died, because being a hostage of Hamas “is the worst thing she could be exposed to.”
It was later reported that she would still be alive.
In a situation he describes as “hell on earth,” Thomas Hand says he lives day after day in agonizing wait for his 8-year-old daughter.
She is believed to be part of a group of more than 200 people, including about thirty children, who were kidnapped by Hamas soldiers during the deadly October 7 attack against Israel.
No evidence of his death was found.
A witness also reportedly saw Emily being taken with other people, indicating that she was alive at the time of her kidnapping. She turns 9 on Friday.
“It’s a waking nightmare,” he told CBS Morning on Wednesday.
He said that his daughter was sleeping with her friends when Hamas attacked Israel on several fronts.
Now his father lives on hope.
“It’s in the Hamas tunnels. No birthday party, no cake, no friends. The sad thing is that she won’t even know what day it is. You won’t know if it’s night or day. She won’t even know if it’s her birthday,” her father says sadly.
Thomas Hand traveled to the United States to seek help in bringing his daughter home. It urges governments around the world to pressure Hamas to release the hostages.
He said: “We must fight, and continue to put pressure on all the governments of the world, and continue to pressure Hamas to release the hostages.”
“No matter how sick I am. No matter how tired I am. We’ll get it back.”