“Hamas Didn’t Answer…”: Irish PM’s Comment After Girl Freed Sparks Row

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After the October 7 attack, Emily was presumed to be among those killed by Hamas.

Tel Aviv:

Nine-year-old Emily Hand was one of 17 hostages released by Hamas in a hostage deal with Israel on Saturday (local time).

On his release, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar expressed his gratitude on Sunday, saying his “prayers have been answered”.

Especially after the October 7 attacks, it was speculated that Emily was among those killed by Hamas. She was abducted while she was sleeping at her friend’s house.

“This is a day of great joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent lost child has now been found and returned, and we breathe a huge sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered,” Varadkar posted on X. (formerly Twitter).

However, his remarks – especially his use of the words ‘missing’ and ‘found’ – caused a stir on social media.

Israeli government spokesman Eilon Levy hit back at Varadkar, saying Emily was “brutally abducted” and was not freed by “Israeli military pressure”.

“Emily Hand is ‘not missing’. She was brutally abducted by the death squads that slaughtered her neighbors. ‘She was not found’. Hamas knew where she was and held her hostage. And Hamas didn’t. Answer your prayers. She responded to Israeli military pressure,” Levy posted on X.

He added: “Ireland’s embarrassingly ‘retaliation is imminent’ doesn’t mean little Emily Hand will still be a Hamas hostage if Israel doesn’t put military pressure on Hamas. It doesn’t mean Hamas “was blind, but now sees” (if the above is the case). A statement of amazing grace. is it)”

Levin took a jibe at Varadkar over the “rate of Ireland’s contribution”.

“This is how you describe a little girl who goes missing while walking in the woods and is then found by a friend walking. She is not a girl kidnapped by a death squad who brutally slaughters her neighbors. But this shows the extent of Ireland’s contribution. Prayers,” the spokesperson said in a follow-up post.

On Saturday, the second group, consisting of 13 Israelis and 4 Thai nationals, was released by Hamas and handed over to Egypt, The Times of Israel reported.

Earlier, Hamas handed over 20 hostages, including 13 Israelis and seven foreigners, to the Red Cross, The Times of Israel reported.

According to the US-Qatar-brokered exchange between Israel and Hamas, Hamas will release the hostages and Israel will release the Palestinian prisoners. On Friday, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners.

The first 24 hostages were handed over to International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff in a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas last Friday.

In particular, about 240 people were abducted by Hamas during the brutal attack on Israel on October 7.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is from a syndicated feed.)

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