Emily Hand, an Irish-Israeli girl who was freed from Hamas captivity, speaks only in whispers after being ordered to remain silent during a horrific ordeal.
This was told by the father of a 9-year-old girl, Tom Hand, reports The Independent.
The day before, Tom was reunited with his daughter Emily after 50 days of her captivity in Gaza. Hamas militants kidnapped the girl during the attack on Israel on October 7, along with her friend, 13-year-old Hila, and she was also released.
Gend told reporters he would do "whatever it takes" to restore his daughter's sense of security and well-being.
"I can't think about what she went through – she was terrorized by terrorists in hell – but it's my job as her dad to make things better, and I'll do it," the man said.
What condition is Emily in
Emily has lost more than 3 kg of weight during her time in captivity, but her father is determined to help the child recover: "It will be a long way, but we will get there."
Emily Gand released from Hamas captivity with her father / Photo: IDF
Hand feared that his daughter was being held captive in a maze of tunnels nicknamed "Metro Gaza," but Emily said that was not the case.
"They forced her to flee from the Israeli army from house to house. She was constantly moved – sometimes under fire – to stay one step ahead of the army," the father said.
"She must have been absolutely horrified – an eight-year-old girl being led by strangers from one blown up house to another in the middle of a war zone," he added.
What Emily said about captivity
According to Gend, his daughter recounted how Hamas militants shouted "yala, yala, yala" in Arabic, which means "hurry, hurry, hurry" to hostages who were fleeing for their lives when Israel rained shells on Gaza.
"When she was being held, I said I was horrified by the thought that she would spend her ninth birthday in the tunnels under Gaza. But the reality of what was happening to her was much worse, and I'm glad I didn't know what she was going through at the time," Emily's father shared.
He added that his daughter remains in shock. She is currently being examined by pediatric trauma specialists at a hospital near Tel Aviv. Doctors prescribed Emily a course of vitamins to strengthen her nervous system, and now she "eats like a horse" after the girl was deprived of food for more than seven weeks.
"Now I know I'm going to be an overprotective dad, and I still can't let her out of my sight. But the last thing I want is for her to feel trapped or threatened again," Gend said.
In mid-October, Emily's father was informed that his daughter, who had been kidnapped by Hamas militants, had been killed. Upon learning of her child's death, the father breathed a sigh of relief and admitted that he was most afraid that Emily would suffer in captivity.
However, the day before, it became known that Emily was alive, and she was released from captivity in the Gaza Strip.
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