Two Thais set free, 17 ready to fly home

Two Thais set free, 17 ready to fly home

Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin, centre. (File photo)
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin, centre. (File photo)

Two more Thai citizens held hostage by Hamas were released on Tuesday evening, while 17 other Thais released earlier will arrive in Thailand later on Thursday.

As of Wednesday, there are still 13 Thais held in Hamas custody, with the government working with Tel Aviv to free them.

The news came after Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that the two had been freed on Tuesday evening at 11pm local time.

The men, identified as Pattanayut Tonsokree and Owat Suriya, were taken to Shamir Medical Centre in Tel Aviv for a health check, Mr Srettha said.

The men were visited by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara who arrived in Israel earlier on Tuesday.

During his visit, Mr Parnpree and the Thai Ambassador to Israel, Pannabha Chandraramya, met Israel President Isaac Herzog to express their gratitude for Israel's help in negotiating their release.

Mr Parnpree, along with chief of the armed forces, Songwit Noonphakdi, and Ms Pannabha also visited the 17 Thai workers freed earlier, who were also at the hospital.

Mr Parnpree will return to Bangkok with the 17 Thais on Thursday on El Al Airways flight LY081, due to arrive at 12.15pm at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province.

At the hospital, he met Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Eli Cohen who assured him that Israel will take good care of its Thai workers, promising to compensate those who have lost their jobs and extend assistance to those wishing to return.

"Without Thai workers, Israel would not have had an agricultural industry," he said.

He said Thai workers are welcome to work in Israel once the war is over.

According to Labour permanent secretary Pairote Chotikasathien, the 17 Thai returnees will receive their first compensation of 10,000 shekels (94,526 baht) in the form of a cash card that can be used worldwide, along with a monthly assistance of 6,900 shekels for six months.

Anyone who requires physical or mental treatment can get their medical fees reimbursed by Israeli authorities, he said.

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