Tom Hand, the Irish father of an Irish-Israeli girl who was believed to have been murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7 but is now believed to have been kidnapped, has issued an appeal to Hamas to release the child captives.

8-year-old Emily Hand, an Irish passport holder and Irish citizen, was initially believed to have been killed during the Hamas attacks in the Be'eri Kibbutz in Israel on October 7.

In an interview with CNN last month, Dublin native Tom said his daughter's death was a "blessing" compared to the alternative of being kidnapped by Hamas.

However, Emily's family has recently learned that it is possible that Emily is still alive and being held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

"Now I have hope," Tom told Virgin Media Ireland's The Group Chat podcast on Monday, "now I have hope that she's alive.

"So we'll pray that she comes back however broken, we can fix her. We just want her back. We're glad she's alive."

Hand said his daughter will likely celebrate her ninth birthday on November 17 in captivity inside Gaza.

"She won't even know it's her birthday," he said tearfully. "There will be no cake, no parties, no friends."

In an emotional appeal to Hamas, Hand said: "I beg you, on bended knees, to please release the children, including Emily.

"Just release - let's start with the children. Maybe the women later, maybe the old people later. I don't think we'll get much chance with the men. 

"But at least the children. For god sakes, for god sakes, have some humanity, some pity, some humane feelings of any kind, please."

#WATCH The father of an 8-year-old Irish-Israeli girl thought to have been murdered in the Hamas attack last month, has told Virgin Media News of his relief at learning that she might still be alive

News Correspondent @ZaraKing reports ⤵️#VMNews

— Virgin Media News (@VirginMediaNews) November 6, 2023

Tom explained that over the last week, the Army officially told him that Emily is no longer considered dead and that they haven't found a body to confirm her death.

He said that he knows very little about what led the Army to come to this conclusion, but says he does know that no bodies and no blood were found at the house Emily was staying at for a sleepover the night before the Hamas attacks. The Army believes Emily's friend and the mother of Emily's friend were also taken hostage.

Tom said he's given DNA and provided Emily's dental records and photos as part of the identification process.

He admitted that the news that his daughter may still be alive was "hard," but that it was also "great to know that there is a possibility that she is alive and well and one day we will get her back and I can hug her."

He added: "I'm hoping that the Irish government is putting as much pressure on the people behind the scenes - Egypt, Qatar, whatever.

"She's an Irish citizen, a dual [citizen]. I hope the Prime Minister of Ireland will make as much effort to get the hostages, especially my daughter, back as much as he wants to help the people of Gaza."

Tom acknowledged that he's not "in the loop" with the Irish government's efforts as it's all "behind the scenes."

"That's simply the situation," he said. "Nobody can go public with what anybody's trying to do. You just hope that they're doing their best efforts."

Speaking warmly of his "determined" daughter, Tom said Emily had "been through a lot in her small, little age," including her mother's death from cancer when Emily was only two years old.

"But she was still a happy, happy, life-loving child."

Meanwhile, Emily's half-sister Natali has described finding out that Emily might be alive as a "hell of a rollercoaster."

Speaking to RTÉ News, Natali called on the Irish Government to help "get her back" and said the family would do "anything" to bring her home. 

"We are like zombies. We have no tears left. We are just broken and now we got hope back. We are strong now and we will do anything," Natali told RTÉ News. 

Natali said her own mother was murdered during the attacks and said the thought of Emily suffering is a constant nightmare for her family. 

She said she has been watching videos of Emily singing and laughing and told RTÉ that she wants to hear it again.