The Thai government says the number of citizens killed in Israel has now risen to 18, while efforts to evacuate over 3,000 continue. Nation Thailand reports that Deputy Foreign Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee expects the number requesting repatriation to rise.
According to Jakkapong, officials are working with the Thai Embassy to evacuate those who want to leave, adding that some 100 workers have said they wish to remain. Out of more than 30,000 Thai workers in Israel, Jakkapong says 5,000 are in danger, residing in and around the Gaza Strip.
The government plans to use both commercial and charter flights to get them out, with the first group expected to land in the kingdom tomorrow, October 12. A second group is expected a week later, on October 19. He says the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv is assisting with repatriation efforts.
Jakkapong has expressed concern about the risk of violence extending to Tel Aviv airport, however, saying Thailand is negotiating with neighbouring countries to facilitate repatriation flights.
The Thai government is also attempting to negotiate the release of Thai nationals held captive by Hamas militants. According to Jakkapong, the number of Thai hostages currently stands at 11. Officials say the number of Thais killed could rise further, as Israel is still unable to access some areas of the conflict zone.
Asked about compensating Thai workers for flight expenses, Jakkapong says this will be on a case-by-case basis. Responding to reports that some Thai nationals had been trafficked to Israel, he adds that the embassy has yet to confirm the claims.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand