Twenty of the Thai workers taken hostage by Hamas are safe and they are being relocated to a single location, awaiting release at the appropriate time, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Friday, quoting Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim as telling him on the telephone.
During a media interview at Government House, Mr Srettha said the Malaysian prime minister called him on Thursday, saying that 12 Thai hostages in one group and another eight in another group, 20 in total, were being moved to the same location to wait for the release.
However, the whereabouts of two or three other Thai hostages were not yet known and efforts were being made to locate them, he quoted Mr Anwar as saying.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday that another Thai worker had been taken hostage, bringing the total to 23.
Asked whether the families of the hostages can now rest assured about their children's safety, Mr Srettha responded, "Yes, as I just said. But the whereabouts of the two or three others are still not known. The Malaysian prime minister has confirmed 20 are safe."
Mr Srettha thanked Mr Anwar for his kindness, adding that his Malaysian counterpart said he would give him a call when there is a development on the hostage issue.
He said the chief of the Thai defence forces had been in Malaysia during the past week, seeking the release of the Thai hostages through negotiations.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Panpree Bahiddha-nukara had also travelled to Qatar and Egypt for this purpose and returned to Thailand on Thursday.
Mr Srettha said he would order officials to put aircraft on standby and prepare flight routes in case Thai people, not only in Israel but also in other countries, want to return home.