6 June 2024

One more Thai national is reported to have been killed in Israel by Hamas, bringing the death toll to 21 as the government considers evacuating Thais overland to Jordan, as a transit point for flights back to Thailand, said Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin this morning (Thursday).

Meanwhile, the first 15 Thai evacuees arrived at Suvarnabhumi international airport, on an El Al flight which landed at 10.25am this morning, according to the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, Kanchana Patarachoke. The second group of 80 Thais is expected to arrive on October 18th.

The prime minister, speaking in Malaysia before departing for Singapore, said he has received a report from the Foreign Ministry informing him that the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv has recommended overland travel to Jordan for Thai evacuees, as evacuation by sea is too risky because the route would pass through Gaza, where fighting is raging between Israel forces and Hamas.

 

He said that he wants Thais to be evacuated from Israel safely and as quickly as possible, adding that officials from agencies who are experienced in evacuation have been sent to Israel.

He also said that the government has coordinated with Air Asia and Nok Air to arrange flights for the evacuation plan, in addition to the Airbus-340 and four C-130 transport planes of the Royal Thai Air Force, adding that the planes will land in Jordan to pick up Thais who evacuated overland from Israel, as the airspace over Tel Aviv is now closed to non-scheduled flights.

According to the prime minister, travelling in Tel Aviv itself is restricted for non-military vehicles, as many roads are closed and military transport is the only convenient means of travel.

He said the Thai military has approached Israel for the use of military transport to bring Thais to the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv, adding that he expects Israel will help given the Thai death toll.

More than 5,000 Thais, most of whom work as labourers on kibbutz farms in Gaza, have expressed their intention to return to Thailand. In total, about 30,000 Thais work in Israel.