Thailand Hostages To Return Home Following Release By Hamas

The Thai foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday that the freed hostages, who have been recovering in an Israeli hospital, will be accompanied by Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara.

Seventeen Thai hostages, who were kidnapped and held for weeks in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, are set to return to Thailand on Thursday. Approximately 13 Thai nationals are still held captive following a cross-border raid into Israel last month.

The Thai foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday that the freed hostages, who have been recovering in an Israeli hospital, will be accompanied by Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara. Ten hostages were released last Friday, and seven more were set free in the days following, as part of a truce negotiated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States.

Nineteen Thai hostages have been freed so far, while the foreign ministry reports that 13 others are still held captive. In the October 7 attack by Hamas, 39 Thai nationals lost their lives.

A Thai Muslim group, in direct communication with Hamas, asserted on Monday that its efforts played a crucial role in ensuring that Thai hostages were among the first to be released. However, a spokesperson from the Thai foreign ministry stated that consultations involved multiple parties in addressing the situation.

On Monday, a Thai Muslim organization asserted that its direct communication with Hamas was crucial in ensuring that Thai hostages were among the first to be released. A spokesperson from Thailand’s foreign ministry mentioned that multiple stakeholders were consulted in the process.

Before the Israel-Hamas conflict, one of the largest migrant worker groups in Israel comprised around 30,000 Thai labourers engaged in the agricultural sector.

Parnpree shared on the X social media platform the heartwarming sight of the former 17 hostages welcoming and offering moral support to the two newcomers.

The Thais returning home were part of those captured during the October 7 raid by Hamas into Israel, resulting in approximately 1,200 casualties, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities. In response, Israel launched a comprehensive campaign involving air, artillery, and naval strikes, along with a ground offensive into Gaza. The conflict, as reported by Gaza’s Hamas-run government, has claimed nearly 15,000 lives, including thousands of children.

The war has resulted in the death of 39 Thai citizens, with 19 sustaining injuries. Thailand has evacuated over 8,500 of its citizens, according to the foreign ministry in Bangkok.