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Ireland’s deputy prime minister has announced that an additional 25 citizens and their dependants will soon be able to depart from Gaza.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, stated that they should have permission to pass through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, increasing the total number of individuals and their family members departing to 51.
Previously, he expressed his wish for all Irish citizens who are able to, to leave Gaza by Sunday.
The news is that the family of an Israeli-Irish girl, who is believed to be held hostage by Hamas, is staying hopeful that they will be reunited with her.
Emily Hand celebrated her ninth birthday on Friday with a party at St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.
A festive dessert and decorations featuring Emily’s name were revealed, along with a sign pleading “Bring her back home immediately.”
Mr. Martin expressed continued worry about the state of captives in Gaza and urged for their prompt and unrestricted release.
He stated that today is Emily Hand’s ninth birthday. He also mentioned that this young girl, who is both loving and talented, should be reunited with her family as soon as possible. He assured that his department will exhaust all efforts in making this happen.
On Thursday, Mr. Martin traveled to two towns in southern Israel that were targeted by Hamas in October. This included Kibbutz Be’eri, where it was suspected that Emily had been kidnapped.
He also had a meeting with the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, in Ramallah.
The deputy prime minister referred to the individuals who have departed Gaza in the past few days as being greatly affected by their ordeal.
He stated that as they go back to Ireland soon, they will require our full support in starting their lives over again.
He expressed his shock at the large number of civilian casualties in Gaza over the past few weeks and reiterated his plea for a prompt halt to hostilities and an urgent increase in unobstructed humanitarian aid.
The speaker stated that Ireland has made it evident that international humanitarian law is applicable to all conflicts and all parties involved, including both state and non-state actors.
It is imperative that we put an end to this cycle of violence, destruction, and displacement.
Initially, Emily was believed to have died in the aftermath of the attack on Israeli citizens on October 7. However, new information suggests that she is currently being held captive in Gaza.
Tom Hand, the father of Emily, has had a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The Hand family has requested assistance from the Government in obtaining her freedom.
On Friday, Emily’s father’s cousin, Anna Byrne, was present at the birthday celebration in Dublin.
She mentioned that the past period has been extremely difficult for the family, but they are remaining resilient and optimistic.
“We express our gratitude to today’s organizers and are grateful that Emily remains in everyone’s thoughts and hearts,” she stated on behalf of the entire family.
Unfortunately, today is a particularly sorrowful day as we were eagerly anticipating having her home for her birthday. We are unsure of the type of birthday celebration she is currently experiencing.
“I came today to represent my family and be here for Emily, wishing her a happy birthday.”
She stated, “We are making an effort to remain resilient and optimistic. We have concerns for Tom as he is shouldering a heavy load and it is challenging for him to persist.”
During this terrible period, our efforts are focused on providing as much support as possible and sending our love and well wishes, although it is challenging.
I am experiencing feelings of helplessness as I am unable to take any action, and they are physically distant. Unfortunately, none of us are able to travel to Israel, making the situation even more challenging. However, we are staying optimistic and relying on prayer and hope.
“The family’s positivity is what keeps us all motivated and hopeful to see Emily.”
Rewording cannot be done.