Thai death toll in Israel rises to 18, efforts to free hostages underway

Thai officials are now preparing repatriation plans, Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong said.

The Nation

The Nation



A scene from the Israel-Gaza war zone. PHOTO: THE NATION

October 11, 2023

BANGKOK – More Thais will likely request to return to their home country, he said, citing a report by the Thai ambassador to Israel.

Thai officials are now preparing repatriation plans, Jakkapong said.

About 100 Thai nationals, both registered and unregistered workers, want to stay in the country, he added.

Of the more than 30,000 Thais who reside in Israel, 5,000 are in danger, he said.

Thailand is considering both charter and commercial flights to repatriate them.

The first batch of Thai workers will arrive back from Israel on Thursday (October 12) and the second batch on October 19.

Jakkapong said a clear evacuation plan would be delivered after a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

However, the deputy minister expressed concern that violence was expanding to Tel Aviv airport. Thailand is therefore negotiating for repatriation flights from countries neighbouring Israel, he said.

Meanwhile, the government will consider Thai workers’ flight expenses on a case-by-case basis, he said, adding that the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv is coordinating the repatriation effort.

Jakkapong also acknowledged reports that Thai workers had been trafficked in Israel but said the embassy had not yet confirmed the reports.

Reports from employers indicate that 18 Thai workers were killed in the Hamas attack and violence that followed, he said. However, Israeli officials are still not able to access all areas in the conflict zone.

Thai officials are also making efforts to free Thai workers who are being held hostage by Hamas, Jakkapong said.

Eleven Thais have been taken hostage, according to reports on Monday.

Thai ambassador to Israel Pannabha Chandraramya will update Bangkok officials on the situation today, said Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.

He said 1,099 workers have requested to return to Thailand, with the first batch of 15 set to return on Thursday.

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