At least 54 Thais held hostage by Hamas, says Israeli government
The Israeli government says at least 54 Thai nationals are being held hostage by the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip, making them the largest single group of foreigners missing after the October 7 attack on Israel, according to Reuters news agency.
The Israeli government has confirmed 24 Thai deaths and 21 are unaccounted for, according to the Reuters report.
The report said that 138 of the estimated 220 hostages held by the Palestinian group had foreign passports from 25 different countries, including 15 Argentinians, 12 Germans, 12 Americans, six French, and six Russians.
Many were believed to have dual Israeli nationality. However, some, like the Thais and five Nepalese hostages, almost certainly did not. There was also one Chinese hostage, one Sri Lankan, two from Tanzania, and two from the Philippines.
Israel said 328 people from 40 countries were confirmed as dead or missing after the October 7 attack by Hamas fighters on southern Israel. In all, an estimated 1,400 people were killed in the assault. The Thai Foreign Ministry has said at least 33 Thai nationals were killed in the attack. Fifteen bodies of slain Thais have been repatriated to Thailand so far.
Thailand is one of the largest sources of migrant workers in Israel, with around 30,000 working in the agriculture sector, according to government data.
More than 8,000 Thais have expressed their wish to return to Thailand following the rekindling of conflicts in the Middle East.