Three more Thais working in Israel have been killed since Hamas launched its large-scale attack on Oct 7, while about 7,000 Thai nationals have shown their intention to return home.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Saturday that the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv reported that the Thai death toll from the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group has risen to 24.
The number of Thais abducted and injured stood at 16 each, Mr Srettha said before leaving the military airport in Don Mueang district, Bangkok, for Phitsanulok province.
He reaffirmed that the government would continue coordinating with concerned agencies to evacuate Thais in the Middle Eastern country as soon as possible.
On Saturday morning, the number of Thais showing their intention to return to Thailand rose to about 7,000, said the prime minister.
A photo of the attack on a workers’ camp in Israel is sent by a Thai worker to his family in Thailand. The second group of Thais arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on Saturday evening. (Photo: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)
He thanked commercial airlines – Thai Airways International (THAI), Nok Air and Thai AirAsia – for their full cooperation in bringing back Thais from Israel.
Mr Srettha said the government has not ceased its efforts to help evacuate Thais. He personally contacted the private sector that had aircraft connected to China’s airline to send A340 aircraft to evacuate Thais. The aircraft could bring 300 Thais in each flight.
He has already assigned the Foreign Affairs Ministry to coordinate with the private sector.
The prime minister insisted that Thailand has taken a neutral stance on the situation in Israel, saying the kingdom was not part of the conflict. He said he was duty-bound to work with all sides to protect the lives of Thais during this crisis.
Fifty-seven Thai workers were scheduled to arrive at Suvarnhabumi airport on Saturday evening.
Of them, 19 male workers were evacuated with the help of the Thai ambassy, while the others bought tickets by themselves.
Boonchai Sae Yang, 35, one of Thai returnees who bought a ticket to return to Thailand, said he worked in an area about 7 kilometres from a workers’ camp that was attacked.
Mr Boonchai said he was saddened that one of his relatives who worked at the camp was killed in the attack.
Boonchai Sae Yang, 35, one of the Thai returnees, gives a media interview upon arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport on Saturday evening. (Photo: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)