Four more Thais working in Israel are confirmed to have been killed during the Hamas attacks, bringing the Thai death toll to 28, with 16 wounded and a further 17 abducted.
Labour Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn on Sunday said reports from a councillor for labour affairs at the Thai ambassy in Tel Aviv showed that the Thai death toll is now 28 with 17 abducted Thais and 16 wounded.
A total of 7,540 Thais have filled forms at the ambassy, with 7,446 intending to return home and 94 wanting to stay in Israel, accoridng to the reports.
Mr Pipat led senior ministry officials to meet the third group of 90 Thai workers at SC Park Hotel in Bangkok.
The workers – 88 men and two women – returned home from Israel on a commercial flight on Sunday morning. They arrived at U-tapao international airport in Rayong province before boarding chartered buses to the hotel in Wang Thong Lang district, where they warmly greeted by their waiting relatives.
Mr Pipat said another group of 137 Thais will return home at around 5-6am on Monday by Air Force aircraft. They will arrive at Don Mueang airport, said the minister.
Labour Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn speaks to reporters at SC Park Hotel in Bangkok on Sunday. (Photo: Labuor Ministry)
Prime Mnister Srettha Thavisin has expressed concern about how to find more aircraft for the repatriation plan in addition to the flights that the government has coordinated with some airlines, said Mr Pipat.
Noke Air and Thai AirAsia have each agreed to help arrange two repatriation flights. Thai Airways International and the air force will arrange one repatriation flight each.
So far only 200 Thai workers have been able to be repatriated because many lost their passports while fleeing to seek refuge in bunkers, said the minister.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has been preparing 8,000 reserve passports. In the next 3-4 days, authorities would be able to repatriate 400 Thais a day, said Mr Pipat.
The Labour Ministry has sent five more officials who used to live in Israel to help Thai workers there while the Foreign Affairs Ministry has sent another 10 officials to that country.
Mr Pipat said about 7,000 Thais who have registered to return home could be repatriated next month.
Justice Minister Thawee Sodsong said on Sunday that he was saddened that the Thai death toll has risen to 20 and almost 20 people were wounded in the Hamas attacks.
The government wanted to see Thai workers return home safely and would try its best to help those abducted, said Pol Col Thawee during a meeting with Thai returnees at SC Park Hotel.