Two more Thais working in Israel have been confirmed dead and another Thai has been taken hostage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
The number of Thais who have died has reached 34 — only France has lost more citizens (39) during the hostilities. The total number of Thai hostages taken by Hamas is 24 since the Palestinian militants launched their large-scale attack on Oct 7. The number of injured Thais remains at 19, said the ministry.
The Thai government has been actively pursuing a number of avenues in its attempt to bring hostages home when it is safe for them to be taken out of Gaza.
Negotiation teams have met with representatives of Iran, Qatar and Hamas, while Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin also had a direct phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.
In a related development, the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv has closed its evacuation centre as the number of Thai workers who have confirmed their wish to return home has dropped dramatically.
A total of 35 evacuation flights have taken place since Oct 15 and the shelter in Tel Aviv was closed after the last flight departed on Friday, the embassy said in a post on its Facebook page.
It said that repatriated Thai workers can present their evacuation flight tickets to their local employment office in Thailand to receive reimbursement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the last evacuation flight, operated by the Israeli airline Arkia, arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday morning with 90 Thais aboard.
From now on, it said, evacuation flights will be offered based on the number of Thai workers willing to travel to Tel Aviv to board a flight.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, meanwhile, has approved a support grant for repatriated Thai workers of 50,000 baht each, together with another 15,000 baht from the overseas workers’ fund, said Pairote Chotikasathien, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Labour.
Mr Pairote said that currently there were about 700 Thai workers who had signed up to work in Israel but have been unable to travel there because of the conflict.
In Buri Ram on Saturday, relatives and mourners bid a final farewell to Charoon Chartdamdee, 40, a Thai worker killed in Israel, at a temple in in Lam Plai Mat district.
The body of Charoon arrived home in tambon Ban Yang on Thursday night of Nov 2.
His mother Chan Wisetsat, 75, has struggled to come to terms with the loss of her son, who was the breadwinner of the family.
Charoon, the youngest of Mrs Chan’s four children, had worked in Israel for two years before the family lost contact with him on Oct 7, the first day of the Hamas attack. He was later confirmed dead.
The governor of Buri Ram led officials attending the cremation ceremony at Wat Pho Yoi in Lam Plai Mat.
Charoon Chartdamdee, 40, a Buri Ram native, lost his life during the Hamas attack in Israel. His body was sent to his home province of Buri Ram on Nov 2 and the cremation was held on Saturday. (Photo: Surachai Piragsa)