First on CNN: Father describes how his young daughter Emily Hand survived Hamas captivity

Nov 28, 2023 | Hostages, Read Now, Videos

Emily Hand had to run from house to house, forced to move by Hamas as Israeli forces attacked Gaza, her father Thomas Hand told CNN.

“That’s terrifying. Being pulled, dragged, pushed … under gunfire probably,” he said on Tuesday.

It’s one of the details that his daughter is slowly sharing of what happened after she was kidnapped on October 7 and taken to Gaza, a place she now calls “the box.”

“She’s coming out slowly, little by little,” Hand said.

[The CNN report continues]

Emily, who turned 9 in captivity, was held with her friend Hila Rotem-Shoshani and Hila’s mother Raaya before the children were released last Saturday.

[The CNN report continues]

From death to captivity to hope

Emily had been at a sleepover at Hila’s house when Hamas terrorists stormed Kibbutz Be’eri. Hand was trapped in his house for hours, unable to reach his daughter, as the community was ravaged – about 130 residents killed and others captured.

[The CNN report continues]

Eight weeks after he had last seen his daughter, Hand was informed Emily was on the list of the second batch of hostages to be released under the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas.

[The CNN report continues]

“All of a sudden the door opened up and she just ran. It was beautiful, just like I had imagined it, running together,” Thomas said. “I probably squeezed her too hard,” he added, giving his view of the now iconic video of the reunion where he greets his daughter with her nickname “Emush.”

[The CNN report concludes]

Thomas’s focus is now split. He must get Emily well. And he will do all he can to get Raya back home and all the other hostages too. And he hopes the support he felt while Emily was missing will stay strong.

“We have to get Raaya back for Hila, back for Emily, back for justice,” he said.

“Don’t go silent on us now,” he implored the world. “Bring them home, bring them home.”

View in this November 28 CNN report which includes a two minutes plus video conversation with the father.