Hamas tells govt negotiators Thai hostages will be freed during ceasefire

The Thai negotiators were assured that the 25 Thai hostages were still safe although Israel continued to bombard the Gaza Strip with rockets.

The Nation

The Nation



A team of Thai negotiators returned from Iran and said that Hamas negotiators would release Thai hostages once its call for a 72-hour ceasefire is accepted by Israel. PHOTO: THE NATION

November 17, 2023

BANGKOK – Muk Sulaiman, secretary to House speaker Wan Muhammad Noor Matha, held a press conference with team members at Parliament to offer a briefing on the outcome of the talks.

Muk said the negotiation team went to Iran for talks with Hamas representatives and returned to Thailand on Thursday.

The Thai negotiators were assured that the 25 Thai hostages were still safe although Israel continued to bombard the Gaza Strip with rockets.

“Hamas representatives assured the Thai negotiators that they would release the hostages when the situation was safe or when there was a ceasefire for 72 hours as called by the international community,” Muk said.

  He said the ball was now in Israel’s court whether to accept the 72-hour ceasefire condition.

“I believe the chances of Israel agreeing to the ceasefire is high because all the countries are stepping up pressure on Israel. So, I believe the Thai hostages will be released soon,” Muk said.

Muk also called on Thai workers who have decided to stay on in Israel to change their mind and return to Thailand as soon as possible, saying the situation in that country was still volatile.

Lerpong Syed, president of the Thai-Iranian student alumni and one of negotiators, told the same press conference that the Thai negotiators had held direct talks with Hamas leaders.

He said Hamas could not release the hostages now for fear of safety, as Israel has continued to bombard the Gaza Strip.

Lerpong said that if Israel announced a 72-hour ceasefire, Hamas would release about 50 hostages.

However, Lerpong said he could not be certain if all the 25 Thai hostages would be among the first group of 50 hostages to be released.

  Meanwhile, bodies of five Thai workers arrived from Israel at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thursday.

So far, 39 Thais have been reported killed in the Hamas-Israel war.

The bodies were flown from Tel Aviv by El Al Israel Airlines flight LY 081 and reached Bangkok at noon on Thursday.

The Thai embassy in Tel Aviv held a solemn rite at 3pm at the Ben Gurion Internatinal Airport.

  Thai Ambassador to Israel Pannabha Chandraramya presided over the rite, which was joined by labour attache Kittithana Srisuriya.

The Israeli government sent its representatives to join the rite. They included David Levy, director of the Pacific department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and Shiri Levy, an inspector of the Israeli commission in charge of protection of foreign workers.

Pannabha laid wreaths to mourn the deaths. David Levy made a speech to express condolences. He said Thai workers should not have been victims of the violence and assured that the Israeli government would provide good care for their families.

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