'Emily turns nine on Friday' - Micheál Martin visits Israeli neighbourhood where Emily Hand was last seen
Also while in Israel, the Tánaiste and his team were reportedly forced to make an emergency stop on account of a bomb scare.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin has visited the neighbourhood in Israel where the eight-year-old girl and Irish citizen Emily Hand was last seen.
Her family previously revealed that Emily was at a sleepover at a friend's house in Be’eri Kibbutz on 7 October when the settlement came under attack by Hamas.
Initially thought to have been killed in the attack, it is now believed that she is alive but was abducted and is being held hostage in Gaza.
Eight-year-old Emily Hand
On Tuesday afternoon (14 November), the Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister met with Emily's father Thomas Hand, stating that his department has been "engaging intensively internationally through political, official and security channels in a bid to secure Emily’s safe return".
"Everyone in Ireland feels the deepest sympathy for Thomas and all the Hand family, given the horrific and traumatic ordeal they are currently experiencing," he said.
Grateful to meet Thomas Hand and his daughter Natali, and other relatives of civilians being held hostage in Gaza today. Our thoughts are with you. pic.twitter.com/Dwoez6sdwA
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) November 14, 2023
Micheál Martin visits Israeli neighbourhood where Emily Hand was last seen
"Emily will turn nine on Friday (17 November). This brilliant and talented young girl needs to be returned to her family immediately.
"My Department will leave no stone unturned in pursuing that outcome.
"Later this week, I will be raising Emily’s case in all appropriate meetings during my visit to Israel, Egypt and the occupied Palestinian territory.
"All our thoughts are with Emily and her family at this profoundly difficult time. All hostages in Gaza should be released immediately and unconditionally."
And in a report on Thursday, the Irish Examiner states that the Tánaiste visited Be’eri Kibbutz and met with several survivors of the 7 October attack.
The paper also said that Martin was shown the wreckage from the settlement attack that left more than 100 dead. This is as around 70 people, including Emily, are missing.
The Irish Times, meanwhile, reports that after leaving Be’eri Kibbutz to travel to Jerusalem, the Tánaiste and his team were forced to make an emergency stop on account of a bomb scare.
According to the paper, sirens rang out and the Tánaiste's officials left their bus and lied on the ground, while Martin stayed in his armoured car. No one was injured in the incident.
Main image via Virgin Media News and Twitter/Micheál Martin
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