Soldiers stand in front of an Israeli police station that was damaged during battles to dislodge Hamas militants who were stationed inside, on October 8, 2023. / AFP
Two more Thai workers have been killed in Israel, bringing the death toll to 20, while the number of those injured and abducted has risen to 13 and 14 respectively, Kanchana Patarachoke, director-general of the Information Department of the Thai Foreign Ministry, said today (Wednesday).
She also said that the number of Thais seeking to return to Thailand has now increased to 5,019 and 19 have announced their intention to remain in Israel.
Regarding the report in The Times of Israel, that 14 Thais have been found and rescued by Israeli forces, Kanchana said that they are a separate group who are not among the 14 who were reported to have been held hostage by Hamas.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said in his X post Tuesday night that the Thai government has made arrangements to charter commercial flights and to fly Royal Thai Air Force (RATF) planes to Israel to repatriate Thais there.
The first 15 Thais are due back in Bangkok tomorrow, followed by a second group who are to be flown from Israel in an RTAF Airbus-340 this Saturday and are scheduled to arrive back on Sunday.
The third group of 80 are to be evacuated on a commercial flight on October 18th.
The prime minister said that the government are trying to evacuate Thais as quickly as possible, adding that he has instructed the Foreign Ministry and relevant agencies to coordinate with Thailand’s allies and international organisations to secure the safe return of Thais being held hostage by Hamas.
Additional officials from the Foreign Ministry have been sent to Tel Aviv to boost the staff at the Thai embassy working on the evacuation operations.
Meanwhile, a Thai survivor claimed that his six colleagues, five of them natives of the north-eastern province of Udon Thani and one from Sakhon Nakhon, had been killed by Hamas in their room, according to relatives of one of the dead, 29-year-old Kraisorn Aranthit.
The relatives said the survivor, Anucha Bunyasarn, told them that they were working on the same cattle and chicken farm on a kibbutz in Gaza.
Anucha claimed he was in separate building from the other six when Hamas militants raided the farm, adding that he hid himself in his room and heard gunshots in the other building.
After the departure of the militants, Anucha emerged from his hideout and was told by his Israeli employer that all six Thais were dead.
One relative, Netnapa Homsorn, said she was told that her younger brother, Srettha, was kidnapped along with four co-workers by Hamas and three of them had managed to escape.