Two more Thais working in Israel have been confirmed killed during the Hamas attacks, four more injured and another three abducted, bringing the death toll to 20, with 14 abducted and 13 wounded, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry
Spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke said on Wednesday fighting was continuing in areas near the Gaza Strip, with losses reported on both sides.
She said another two Thai workers had been killed by a rocket, raising the Thai death toll to 20. Four more Thais had been wounded and three others reported abducted, bringing the injured to 13 and the abducted Thais to 14.
She also addressed reports that Thais were among 14 hostages who had recently been rescued. She said the Thai embassy had checked the list of names and there were no Thais among them.
A total of 5,019 Thai workers had said they wanted to Thailand. Sixty-one had confirmed they would stay put. There were about 30,000 Thais in Israel, Ms Kanchana said.
Asked about evacuations, she said the first 15 Thais were due to arrive back in Thailand at 10.35am on Thursday.
Authorities had booked 80 seats on commercial and air force planes on Oct 18, with permission being sought from other countries to fly over their skies, she said.
In Nakhon Phanom, families expressed worries over the plight of more than 330 workers who could not be reached.
According to the local employment office, there are 2,100 people from the province working in Israel.
Natenapha Homsorn, of Ban Nong Doen Pattana, in tambon Ban Pheung of Muang district, said on Wednesday her three younger brothers all worked in Israel - Srettha, aged 38, Jetsada, 36, and Anuwat, 32.
Mr Anuwat recently contacted her via video on Facebook and said Hamas gunmen had raided the labour camp where he stayed on Oct 7. Eleven Thais were in the camp. Five were abducted, but two managed to escape.
Three Thais, including her brother Srettha, were taken away by the attackers. Srettha had been due to return home on Oct 10, as his employment contract had expired. He was taken captive only three days before he would have come home safely. Now, they feared greatly for his safety.
Ms Natenapha said she and her family all called on the government for help.
In Khon Kaen, the family of a worker seriously wounded in the Hamas attack prayed to their ancestors and local spirits on the roadside near their house in tambon Kham Muang of Khao Suan Kwang district on Wednesday. They asked for their help in protecting him and warding off bad luck. (continues below)
The family of injured Thai worker Phadung Budmo, 26, give offerings to their ancestors and local spirits on a roadside in their community in Khao Suang Kwang district, Khon Kaen, asking for help in protecting him. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)
Phadung Budmo, 26, was shot twice in the back when Hamas fighters attacked his labour camp.
Israeli soldiers later took him to hospital. The wounded man's girlfriend, Suphatra Asanok, 28, said he was now safe and discharged from the hospital. She thanked the people who had helped her boyfriend, especially an interpreter known only as Jaem.
“Before we learned he was safe he could not be reached. I and his family turned to sacred things and shrines for help. After we were able to contact him, a senior monk told us to hold a rite to worship our ancestors,’’ Ms Supatra said.
The injured man's mother, Boonhome Budmo, 50, said the family breathed a deep sigh of relief on finally learning her son Phadung was alive.
He had since told her he would return home as soon as possible.
In holding the ritual they were seeking the blessings of their ancestors and their help in protecting her son, Ms Boonhome said.
Ambassador meets Thai workers in Israel: On Tuesday afternoon, Pannabha Chandraramya, the Thai ambassador to Israel, visited Thai workers in a village near Herzliya city. During the visit, she had discussions regarding the repatriation process, which would begin with individuals from high-risk areas. Ms Pannabha assured the workers that travel documents would be promptly issued for those without passports, facilitating a smooth and timely return to Thailand and ensuring the well-being and safe repatriation of Thai nationals in the Middle Eastern country. (Video: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)