Group of 17 Thai hostages released by Hamas arrives in Thailand

Thai hostages who were freed from Hamas arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakarn Province on Nov. 30, 2023. - AP

BANGKOK: A group of 17 Thai nationals who had been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza arrived at a Bangkok airport on Thursday (Nov 30), Thailand's foreign ministry told reporters.

A total of 23 Thai hostages have been released in Gaza, with nine remaining in captivity.

Hamas killed 39 Thais and abducted 32 Thai labourers during the Oct 7 attack on Israel, according to the Thai government.

Before the war, around 30,000 Thai labourers worked in the agriculture sector, making the group one of Israel's largest migrant worker groups.

So far, 9,000 Thais have been repatriated.

Family members waited on Thursday to greet their relatives at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin believes that an extended ceasefire was a good sign and hopes that all hostages including Thai hostages will be released, the government said in a statement Thursday.

Thai migrant workers in Israel come mainly from the Southeast Asian nation's rural northeast, seeking higher pay to send home to their families.

Thai Foreign Ministry Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said he held talks with his counterparts in several Middle Eastern countries with Hamas contacts. Parnpree was previously in Cairo and Doha for talks.

A Thai Muslim group that held direct talks with Hamas said their efforts were crucial in securing the early release of Thai hostages. On the first day of the ceasefire, 10 Thai hostages were released without condition.

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Thailand , gaza , Israel , hostages , return


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