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Hostage Israeli-Irish girl’s dad regrets saying that her dying was the ‘best possibility’ before finding out she may be alive

An Irish dad living in Israel who said it was a “blessing” that his daughter died instead of being kidnapped by Hamas now says he regrets his words after learning his soon-to-be 9-year-old is alive and being held hostage by terrorists.

Emily Hand’s father, Thomas, says he is now clinging to hope that the 8-year-old is alive — and regrets expressing relief when he thought she had died in Hamas’ surprise attack at Kibbutz Be’eri on Oct. 7.

“In some ways, I regret that — just because of some of the things I said — some things that might have put her in danger — we move on,” he told BBC in Israel.

In interviews after the attack, when he believed his little girl was among the casualties, he had called her death the “best possibility,” saying what Hamas does to people in Gaza “is worse than death.”

The devastated father noted that it will be his daughter’s birthday this month — but that she likely won’t even know she’ll have turned 9 years old because she’s been living under Hamas’ torment now for an entire month.

“She is more than likely in a tunnel somewhere under Gaza,” Hand told CNN, recalling how an official from the Irish embassy in Israel told him tests indicated Emily’s DNA was not found among victims in the kibbutz.

“It’s her birthday on the 17th of [November]. She will be 9,” her father said. “She won’t even know day it is. She won’t know it’s her birthday. There will be no birthday cake. No party, no friends. She will just be petrified in a tunnel under Gaza. That is her birthday.”

Hand previously said his daughter was at a sleepover with a friend Friday night into Saturday when terrorists snuck into Kibbutz Be’eri and slaughtered more than 100 people.

The father, who was born in Dún Laoghaire and is not Jewish, had come to Be’eri 30 years ago as a volunteer, planning to stay for just a few months — but never left.

He fell in love with Narkis, a member of the kibbutz, and they had two children, Natalie and Aiden. After their divorce, Tom married Emily’s mother, Liat, who died of breast cancer five years ago.

He was reportedly in the process of applying for an Irish passport for Emily at the time of the attack.

Now, the devastated father told BBC he just wants her back “to love her again, hug her again — and never let her out of my sight.”


Now, the devastated father told BBC he just wants her back “to love her again, hug her again — and never let her out of my sight.”

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