20,000 Thais still in Israel, abductees alive: govt

20,000 Thais still in Israel, abductees alive: govt

Thai workers arrive from Israel at Wing 6 in Don Muang district on Oct 26. (Photo: Royal Thai Air Force)
Thai workers arrive from Israel at Wing 6 in Don Muang district on Oct 26. (Photo: Royal Thai Air Force)

About 20,000 Thai workers remain in Israel for financial reasons while pictures show that those abducted by Hamas are still alive, according to authorities.

Pongsathorn Chuthasamit, reception director of the Department of Protocol, said on Monday that more than 20,000 Thai people remained in Israel. The Thai embassy in Tel Aviv is operating normally, he said, and is ready to facilitate citizens who wish to return home.

Mr Pongsathorn was among nine foreign affairs officials who returned from Israel after the Foreign Affairs Ministry closed its Thai evacuation centre at InterContinental David Tel Aviv Hotel. They were among the 14 foreign affairs officials who had been sent to facilitate the evacuation of Thai people from Israel.

Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara received the officials and praised their work. He also said that no other Thai nationals had currently expressed interest in returning to their homeland. Only two Thais arrived from Israel on Sunday, he said.

Later on Monday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said Gen Songwit Noonpakdee, chief of defence forces, saw pictures of several Thais who were abducted from Israel and the pictures at least proved that they were alive.

The prime minister said he hoped that while negotiations were going on, the hostages might be released in the event of a temporary ceasefire.

He said that there was no update on the report that three Thai hostages were missing and another Thai person had been abducted.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry reported on Saturday that 24 Thai people were abducted, 19 were injured, 34 were killed and 7,470 returned from Israel since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

On Monday Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said most Thai workers decided to continue to work in Israel for financial reasons. They were indebted and feared that they would be unable to earn a similar salary if they left Israel, he said.

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