Hope is growing that Irish-Israeli citizen Emily Hand may be released by Hamas following news of an agreement between Israel and Hamas.
However, there is uncertainty about when the nine-year-old may be reunited with her family.
It was confirmed overnight on Wednesday that an agreement had been reached between Israel and Hamas that would result in a four-day pause in fighting during which Hamas would release at least 50 citizens. These would be women and children.
Some reports by Israeli media on Wednesday suggested that Emily may be among the first hostages to be released.
It was suggested that information had been shared with a journalist based in Israel from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. However, it later appeared that this information may have been shared in error and may not have been correct.
RTÉ later quoted the Israeli Government Press Office as saying that it had not seen or received a list of hostages due to be released by Hamas.
Neither the Israeli Embassy in Dublin nor the Irish Government were able to confirm to the Irish Mirror if they had received any news about Emily’s release.
The Israeli Ambassador Dana Erlich said: “At this difficult time, we are not in deliberately [sic] to give out any specific information.
“We are committed to the return of all the kidnapped and will continue to work tirelessly until they are all back home.”
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday morning, Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin called for the immediate release of Emily Hand and other hostages.
"I would like to welcome the news breaking of an agreement between Israel and Hamas on the release of some hostages held in Gaza and a limited truce," Mr Martin said.
"While details of what has been agreed and the timings are still emerging, this is an important and positive step and hopefully will facilitate the access to humanitarian assistance needed so urgently by the people of Gaza and return some of those held hostage by Hamas to their loved ones.
"Our focus in particular is on nine-year-old Irish citizen Emily Hand. I know deputies will understand if I do not go into details on Emily’s case.
"We have worked consistently for her release over recent weeks, including extensive contacts with regional partners.
"I want to take this chance to note that Ireland unreservedly condemns the practice of hostage-taking and appeals for the immediate release of all remaining hostages."
In a statement on Tuesday evening, Israel confirmed that a four-day ceasefire had been agreed.
“The Government of Israel is obligated to return home all of the hostages,” they said.
“The Government has approved the outline of the first stage of achieving this goal, according to which at least 50 hostages – women and children – will be released over four days, during which a pause in the fighting will be held. The release of every additional ten hostages will result in one additional day in the pause.
“The Government of Israel, the IDF and the security services will continue the war in order to return home all of the hostages, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that there will be no new threat to the State of Israel from Gaza.
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