Help for Thais in Israel: Srettha
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Help for Thais in Israel: Srettha

PM says measures 'in place' if Iran attacks

Thai returnees from Israel arrive at Wing 6 in October last year. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Thai returnees from Israel arrive at Wing 6 in October last year. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Measures have been put in place to help Thai nationals in Israel in the event that Iran follows through with its threat to carry out an attack on Israel, the Thai government said on Saturday.

About 8,000 Thai workers were evacuated from Israel after Hamas launched its attack on Oct 7.

Many of these workers have since returned to work there, said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

''Undeniably, it's the responsibility of the government to ensure their safety.

''Even though it is their choice to return to Israel, it can't be denied that Thailand's economy is not appealing enough to keep these workers here,'' he said.

The government is monitoring the situation in Israel while preparing to act in accordance with emergency security measures, in case tensions between Iran and Israel escalate any further, said government spokesman Chai Wacharonke.

Currently, Thai nationals living in Israel are being advised to stay on high alert.

They should also avoid travelling into conflict zones, and contact the embassy for help should they need it, said the spokesman.

Tensions between Iran and Israel have escalated, especially after Israel responded to Iran's threatened attack, said Mr Srettha.

''The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will begin implementing security measures to ensure Thais' safety if the tensions continue escalating there,'' said the PM.

In the US, President Joe Biden on Friday said he expected Iran to attack Israel "sooner, rather than later" and warned Tehran not to proceed.

Asked by reporters about his message to Iran, Mr Biden said simply, "Don't," and he underscored Washington's commitment to defend Israel.

"We are devoted to the defence of Israel. We will support Israel. We will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed," he said.

Israel braced on Friday for an attack by Iran or its proxies as warnings grew of retaliation for an attack on Iran's embassy compound last week in Damascus that killed a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' overseas Qods Force and six other officers.

Israel did not claim responsibility for the airstrike on April 1.

But Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Israel "must be punished and shall be" for an operation he said was equivalent to an attack on Iranian soil.

Mr Biden said he would not divulge secure information, but said his expectation was that an attack by Iran could come "sooner, rather than later".

He spoke to reporters at the White House after a virtual speech to a civil rights conference.

The US rushed warships into position to protect Israel and American forces in the region, hoping to head off a direct attack from Iran on Israel that could come as soon as this weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The moves by the US that are part of an effort to avoid a wider conflict in the Middle East came after a warning from a person familiar with the matter about the timing and location of the potential Iranian attack, the newspaper said.

However, a person briefed by the Iranian leadership said that while plans to attack are being discussed, no final decision has been made, the Journal said.

Countries including India, France, Poland and Russia have warned their citizens against travel to the region, already on edge over the war in Gaza, now in its seventh month. Germany on Friday called on its citizens to leave Iran.

Earlier, White House spokesman John Kirby said the reportedly imminent attack by Iran on Israel was a real and viable threat, but gave no details about any possible timing.

Mr Kirby said the United States was looking at its own force posture in the region in light of Tehran's threat and was watching the situation closely.

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