Devastated father tearfully says the death of his daughter, 8, at the hands of Hamas is a ‘blessing’

12 October 2023, 08:34 | Updated: 12 October 2023, 08:36

Thomas Hand tearfully recalls finding out his eight-year-old daughter was killed by Hamas terrorists
Thomas Hand tearfully recalls finding out his eight-year-old daughter was killed by Hamas terrorists. Picture: CNN

By Asher McShane

A grieving father has said he had to welcome the news that his daughter had been killed by Hamas terrorists because becoming a hostage ‘is worse than death’.

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In a heartbreaking interview with CNN, Thomas Hand said his daughter, eight, had been killed on a kibbutz when terrorists targeted it at around 7am on Saturday.

He broke down in tears, recounting the moment he was finally told his daughter’s body was found.

“They said, we found Emily, she’s dead. And I just went ‘yes!’ I went ‘yes’ and I smiled, because that is the best news of the possibilities that I knew.

“That was the best news of the possibilities that I knew…

“She was either dead, or in Gaza, and if you know anything about what they do to people in Gaza, that is worse than death,” he said.

He said her "death was a blessing. An absolute blessing."

The heartbreaking interview comes as news of more victims emerged.

Read more: Devastated family confirms British man Jake Marlowe has died in Israel after Hamas massacre

Read more: Besieged Gaza runs out of power as Israeli PM says Hamas 'beheaded soldiers and raped our women'

An Irish-Israeli woman who was missing after the Hamas attack on the Supernova music festival has been confirmed dead.

Kim Damti, 22, died in the ‘barbaric’ attack at the music festival. She was among at least 260 people who were killed during the surprise attack by Hamas terrorists.

Irish-Israeli citizen Kim Damti is confirmed to be among the victims of the festival shooting
Irish-Israeli citizen Kim Damti is confirmed to be among the victims of the festival shooting. Picture: Family Handout

Her heartbroken sister posted online: “"With great sorrow and gloomy grief, I announce the killing of our angel, our flower, Kim my blood, who was murdered by the cursed terrorists," she said.

"The funeral will take place tomorrow at 5pm at the cemetery in Gedera."

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Her devastated aunt, Pat Cooper, said: “With heartfelt sorrow the Cooper family announce the death of their beloved niece, Kim Damti."

Ms Cooper added: "We thank all those who have supported us with love and encouragement over the past five days.

"We respectfully request the media to allow us to grieve in the privacy of our family."

Danny Darlington, Bernard Cowan and Nathanel Young
Danny Darlington, Bernard Cowan and Nathanel Young. Picture: Supplied

Ms Damti was at the Supernova festival in Re’im in the south of Israel when she was last seen.

Festival goers fled for their lives when Hamas attackers flew in on paragliders before opening fire on the unarmed crowd.

Irish President Michael D Higgins said he heard the news of Ms Damti’s death with the “greatest sadness”.

“The circumstances in which her life was taken, having travelled as she did to attend a music festival, are truly appalling,” he said.

Irish Premier Leo Varadkar said the death of Ms Damti was “senseless and barbaric”.

“As a nation we are united in mourning for Kim Damti,” he said.

“This vibrant young Irish-Israeli woman was struck down in her prime, with her adult life ahead of her.”

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Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin also paid tribute to her, saying she had a whole life ahead of her full of promise.

"When news reached us over the weekend that an Irish citizen was one of the many hundreds missing after the repugnant terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel, we hoped against hope that she would be found safely," he said.

He added: "The news that this hope has now been extinguished is devastating.

"Anyone looking at the photo of Kim in the media over the last few days will have been struck by the radiance and energy in her expression; a young 22-year-old woman with a whole life ahead of her, full of promise.

"For anyone to lose a child is devastating. To lose a child in such circumstances is indescribable."

Seventeen British nationals including children are reportedly dead or missing in Israel,

It has been confirmed that British victims include 20-year-old soldier Nathanel Young and Scottish grandfather Bernard Cowan.

British born woman Savion Kiper, 30, was also confirmed dead after the Palestinian militant group opened fire on crowds in the Negev desert on Saturday. Her fiancé, Dor Shafir, is still missing.

The family of Daniel Darlington have also said they believe he is among those killed while Jack Marlowe has been confirmed to be among those killed.

Hundreds of Israelis were killed or taken hostage in the attacks as well as a large number of foreign nationals.

Many of the missing foreigners were at the electronic music festival in the southern Israeli desert, at which hundreds of revellers were killed.