Thais hunkering down
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Thais hunkering down

Israel mulls reprisal after Iran launches strikes

People walk past an Israeli flag with a heart symbol, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 14, 2024. (Reuters photo)
People walk past an Israeli flag with a heart symbol, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 14, 2024. (Reuters photo)

Thai nationals in Israel are advised to adhere to safety protocols issued by the Israeli authorities after Iran's missile and drone attacks on Israel on Saturday.

"All Thai nationals in Israel are advised to comply with safety guidelines issued by Israel for their safety. They are also advised to follow announcements by local authorities and keep contact with the Thai embassy in case of emergencies," said government spokesman Chai Wacharonke.

He said the Israeli authorities have announced safety protocols which are in effect from April 13 at 11pm until April 15 at 11pm and Israel's airspace is closed with all flights suspended from 12.30am on April 14 until further notice.

The safety protocols limit the gathering of more than 1,000 people across the country, and limit the gathering of more than 30 in combat areas. All education institutes are closed and only workplaces with shelters are allowed to open, he said.

There are approximately 28,000 Thais residing in Israel and approximately 300 in Iran, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. There are no reports of Thai nationals in Israel or Iran being directly affected or injured by the current situation.

According to the ministry, the Thai embassies in Tel Aviv and in Tehran are closely monitoring the situation and are in touch with the Thai communities to update them on developments to ensure their safety.

It said Thailand is concerned about the unfolding situation in the Middle East and asks that all parties exercise the utmost restraint so the situation does not deteriorate further.

The ministry has also instructed Thai embassies in the region to coordinate with state agencies on providing assistance to Thai nationals in affected areas.

Labour permanent secretary Pairote Chotikasathien on Sunday assured the families of Thai workers in Israel that the government stands ready to provide assistance to workers if they need it.

Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga wrote on Facebook that energy agencies are closely monitoring the Iran-Israel conflict to assess potential impacts and make a response plan.

Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC), on Sunday expressed concerns about potential impacts on Thai exports to the region if the crisis escalates.

He said the Middle East is a growing export market and the escalation of tension has the potential to hit export performance in the second quarter.

If cargo container ships in the Red Sea are targeted, shipping on the route will be suspended and transport of goods to European and Mediterranean countries will be affected, he said.

Mr Chaichan said the conflict may also push fuel prices currently at US$90 (3,300 baht) per barrel higher, which will raise operation costs. The TNSC will hold talks with the Commerce Ministry to address impacts if any, he added.

In Jerusalem on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed his country would achieve victory after the military said it shot down almost all the more than 300 drones and missiles launched by Iran in a sharp escalation of the Middle East conflict.

According to Reuters, Tehran's attacks late on Saturday, launched after a suspected Israeli air strike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1 that killed officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, raised the threat of a wider regional conflict.

Iran had relied on its proxies across the region to attack Israeli and US targets in a show of support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza war with Israel, which shows no sign of easing despite numerous mediations efforts.

"We intercepted, we repelled, together we shall win," Mr Netanyahu posted on X. The Israeli military said the armed forces had shot down more than 99% of the Iranian drones and missiles.

Israel's Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying there would be a "significant response" to the attack.

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