LONDON: Emily Hand, the nine-year-old girl released after Hamas held her hostage for 50 days, will now only talk in whispers having been ordered to stay silent by her captors, her father told British tabloid The Sun in an interview published on Wednesday.
“She was a normal happy noisy kid but now she whispers - she was moving her lips with no volume or even air coming out,” Thomas Hand was quoted as saying.
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“She’s got used to talking like that for the past 50 days and now I guess she can’t stop,” he said, adding he will now do “whatever it takes” to aid her recovery
Irish-Israeli citizen Emily was sleeping over at a friend’s house on the Beeri kibbutz when Hamas militants stormed the compound and took her hostage on October 7.
Her father presumed she had been killed.
Hand told the newspaper that he was “obviously extremely happy and grateful” she had been returned, adding that she had not been abused in captivity but had lost weight.
He revealed that the first thing she wanted to do after they were reunited was watch a video of pop star Beyonce.
Emily was freed as part of a release deal of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners during a current truce in the conflict.
Israel says some 240 people were seized in the October 7 attack by Hamas, which killed 1,200, most of them civilians.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says a subsequent Israeli air and ground campaign in the territory has killed nearly 15,000, most of them ordinary Palestinians.