A solemn ceremony to welcome back the remains of five deceased workers, all men from Northern Thailand. It was the fifth such shipment after 39 Thai citizens were murdered by Hamas on October 7th in its surprise invasion of Israel from Gaza.
The remains of five more deceased Thais who were murdered by militant group Hamas in its October 7th assault on Israel were received home on Thursday. All five men were from the North of Thailand. Their return coincided with news that 25 Thai hostages, still being held by the terrorist group, may be about to be released within the next 10 days.
Officials and associates close to the House Speaker Mr Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, on Thursday, indicated that it is expected that all 25 Thai hostages currently being held by the militant group Hamas in Gaza will be among the first of the 240 prisoners held by the organisation, currently at war with Israel, to be released.
This could happen if a truce is negotiated between the warring parties in the coming days, a close associate of the House of Representatives speaker, Mr Lepong Syed, the President of the Thai-Iran Alumni Association, who briefed the media at the Parliament building in Bangkok, said.
Key Associate of House of Representatives Muslim Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha briefs reporters at Parliament on Thursday amid ongoing talks
‘If any ceasefire, either for three days or five days, this will lead to Hamas releasing the hostages including all Thais being held which they promised,’ Mr. Lepong told reporters. ‘This could be less than 10 days or in the next two to three days.’
Mr Lepong is among a group of Thai Muslim politicians who have been working with the House Speaker in negotiations conducted with Hamas through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and in Qatar where the Gaza militant group has its headquarters from where its leader, Mr Ismail Haniyeh, is directing the war from.
Israeli forces have now entered Gaza and seized control in many areas, particularly in the north of the enclave.
It is understood that negotiators based in Qatar are closely connected with the negotiations between Israel and the militant fighters in Gaza to allow at least a partial release of hostages.
This is thought to be somewhere between 50 and 100 people.
Not clear if this is a full or partial release of hostages but Thailand expected Thai hostages to be among the first to be freed by the militant group
However, Israel’s focus is initially on the release of its own nationals but the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to secure the release of all hostages in its offensive to bring to an end the military capability of Hamas in the besieged territory.
At the same time, it is reported part of the deal being brokered will also allow for a swap of Palestinian women and minors being held in Israel as detainees in the current military standoff.
Thai Muslim intermediates with Hamas have been assured that Thai hostages would be among the first to be set free.
Thailand, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its embassy in Tel Aviv, has successfully repatriated approximately 8,500 workers from Israel since the invasion of the South of the country on October 7th by militants from Gaza, in which over 1,200 Israeli citizens were murdered including thirty-nine Thai nationals working there.
Remains of five of the fallen workers from northern Thailand received by senior officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Thursday in a solemn ceremony
Nonetheless, the vast majority of the over 30,000 Thai nationals in Israel at the time of the invasion have opted to stay on in the country.
The remains of five deceased workers were repatriated to Thailand on Thursday the 16th of November, the fifth such transfer since the war broke out.
The deceased Thais are understood to be all from the Buriram, Udon Thani and Chiang Rai parts of the country.
They were identified as Mr Thianchai Yodthongdee of Buriram Province, Mr Chakraphan Diaothaisong of Buriram Province, Mr Chaiya Raksanon of Udon Thani Province, Mr Saksit Champasim of Udon Thani Province and Mr Somchai Saeyang of Chiang Rai Province.
An official delegation was present at a solemn ceremony at Suvarnabhumi Airport to welcome back the remains including Ms Chaowani Tangwongprasert, the Director of the Nationality and Legal Affairs Division at the Department of Consular Affairs, representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Parnpree Bahiddha-Nu-Kara.
Mr Kornjirat Phongchansathorn, the Assistant Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, represented the Minister of Labour, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
The Ambassador of the State of Israel to Thailand, Ms Orna Sagiv was also present at the ceremony along with other senior government officials.
Israel to pay benefits and pensions to the family, wives and spouses of the Thai nationals injured in addition to Thai government security fund provisions
In the meantime, with the thirty-nine Thais so far confirmed dead in the October 7th invasion, the State of Israel has promised to pay pensions to the wives and spouses of the fallen workers, as well as other benefits to those injured at the beginning of the war.
On Thursday, officials with the Ministry of Labour also highlighted the payments that the Ministry of Labour are making available to the families of deceased workers and are coordinating with all relatives to ensure they are provided with all benefits available including from the Thai government and the Israeli social services.
It is understood that the pension being made available by the Israeli government is to wives and spouses of the deceased workers until they remarry in addition to child support for any children until they reach 18 years of age.