Father Reveals Psychological Impact Of Hamas Captivity On 9-Year-Old Daughter 

A father of a 9-year-old girl kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7 revealed that his daughter’s captivity under the terror group came with a negative psychological impact.

Thomas Hand is the father of nine-year-old Emily. Emily was among the second batch of hostages Hamas released on Saturday. The 9-year-old was feared dead in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack. Hand, however, got the news that his daughter was alive and being held captive by the terror group. 

Hand on Tuesday told CNN’s Clarissa Ward of the moment he was finally reunited with his daughter following weeks of agonizing wait. 

“[They told me] she’ll be here in a couple of minutes. I don’t believe it and all of a sudden the door opened up and she just ran. It was beautiful. just like in just like I imagined it, you know. I squeezed, I probably squeezed too hard,” Hand said.

Hand, who was already close to tears, then went on to reveal the negative impact of his little girls’ captivity on her physical and mental health.

“Only when she stepped back a little I could see her, her face was chiseled, like mine,” Hand added. “Before she left, it was, you know, chubby, girly, young kid face. She lost a lot of body weight. And the color — I have never seen her so white. The other and most shocking, disturbing part of meeting her was she was just whispering. I couldn’t hear her. I had to put my ear on her lips, like this close and say, what did you say? ‘I thought you were kidnapped.’ She thought I was in captivity. They thought they kidnapped me. She didn’t know what the hell happened that morning, so she presumed everyone is kidnapped or killed or slaughtered. She had no idea.”

Hand said his daughter was not held in a tunnel as was widely reported but was moved from one house to another. He added that his daughter’s whispering was down to the fact that she and other hostages were ordered to be quiet. Hand added that his daughter now knows the Arabic word for “be quiet.”

Hand revealed that his daughter only found out that his first wife, whom Emily regarded as a second mother, had been killed during the attack on Oct.7. Hand added that his daughter is making progress and psychiatrists are optimistic about her recovery. Emily, who was eight when she was kidnapped, celebrated her ninth birthday in captivity.