“Prayers Answered”: 9-Year-Old Irish-Israeli Girl Released By Hamas

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Emily turned nine years old in prison earlier this month.

Dublin, Ireland

A nine-year-old Irish-Israeli girl was among the latest hostages released by Hamas fighters last Saturday, the Irish Prime Minister announced in a statement.

“This is a day of great joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family,” Leo Varadkar said.

“The lost innocent child has now been found and returned, and we breathe a huge sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered.”

Emily was one of about 240 abducted by Hamas militants when they breached the Gaza military border on October 7, killing nearly 1,200 Israelis and foreigners.

Following the worst attack in its history, Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas has killed nearly 15,000 people, mostly civilians and thousands of children, with air, artillery and naval bombardments, the Hamas government in Gaza has announced.

Hamas released a second batch of Israeli and foreign civilians held hostage in the Gaza Strip on Saturday in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli officials said 13 Israelis and four Thai nationals had returned to Israel.

The exchange came after an unexpected delay of more than hours put nerves on edge.

Emily turned nine years old in prison earlier this month.

Her father, Thomas Hand, who was born in Ireland and later moved to Israel, told the agency earlier this month that he believed his daughter had been killed in the attack.

“Later we had an eyewitness … (who) saw her being taken by terrorists into Gaza in a van,” he said after the attack on the Biri kibbutz.

Varadkar said he was confident Emily would “soon recover and her family will be saved from this horrific experience in the arms of love”.

“Emily will now return to her family, but we must not forget that many hostages remain in captivity in Gaza.”

“While their fate is unknown, we hope they will be allowed to return to their homes and families like Emily,” he added.

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

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