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'Help me bring her home,' pleads father of 9-year-old seized by Hamas

Thomas Hand, whose daughter is being held hostage by Hamas, attends a demonstration outside Downing Street on Sunday
— London (AFP)

Emily turned nine on Friday. Like many little girls the world over, she loves to sing and to dance like Beyonce.

But unlike those other girls, Emily "spent her birthday in the Gaza tunnels", one of the scores of hostages snatched by Hamas during its deadly October 7 attack on Israel, according to her father Thomas Hand.

"She wouldn't even know it was her birthday. She doesn't know what day it is, and what date it is," Irish-born Hand told AFP Sunday, making a heart-rending appeal to the UK to bring Emily home.

Based on initial information, the 63-year-old thought his daughter was dead.

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