UPDATE 2 at 4.15pm:
Reuters: Thailand’s foreign ministry on Monday confirmed 12 Thai nationals had been killed in unrest in Israel, plus 11 more kidnapped and eight injured.
“We are working to help all Thai citizens in Israel.”
UPDATE 1 at 2pm:
Contradicting earlier reports, Thailand’s Labour Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn now claims that the 2 Thais reportedly killed in Israel due to Hamas attacks were actually Chinese and not Thai. The original report was made by the Thai prime minister during his visit to Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon. He also said that evacuation flight cannot start at this time due to restrictions on flights in and out of Israeli airspace. More that 1000 Thais have already registered for evacuation.
The government has confirmed that two Thais have died in Israel, in the attack carried out by Hamas militants over the weekend. However, deputy PM Phumtham Wechayachai says that number may rise.
“We are waiting for confirmation from the Israeli authorities. Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has been told to coordinate with nearby countries to evacuate Thais to safety.”
The deadly attack caught Israeli security forces unaware, with Hamas firing thousands of rockets and dispatching dozens of militants into Israeli towns. PM Benjamin Netanyahu has responded by saying Israel is “at war” with Hamas.
According to the Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv, two Thai workers have died and 11 have been captured by Hamas. Another eight were injured, with two people in a critical condition.
A group of 9 Thai students have been declared safe and the government is introducing measures to help Thais living in Israel, who are thought to number around 30,000. Of those, around 5,000 are living near the conflict zone in the Gaza Strip.
Phumtham says the Royal Thai Airforce is preparing 6 aircraft to evacuate Thais once airspace in the area has been reopened. Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in also compiling a list of Thais known to be in the country, in order to account for everyone.
Meanwhile, officials from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security are visiting the families of Thai nationals in Israel, to provide support and advice. It’s thought that most of those living and working in Israel are from north and northeast Thailand.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand