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Cover photo: The Royal Thai Air Force

130 Thai migrant workers in Israel have arrived at Don Mueang International Airport by a Royal Thai Air Force plane, while the Foreign Minister has reported increased numbers for Thais killed or taken hostage.

On the morning of 16 October 2023, an Air Force A340-500 carrying 130 more Thai workers from Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel arrived in Thailand.

The group of Thai workers on this first flight included 127 men, 2 women, and 1 child. Prior to boarding the aircraft, the workers underwent a medical examination by a Thai Air Force medical team.

Upon arrival at Don Mueang Airport, the workers went through the immigration process and a medical examination once again before being taken to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute.

The next evacuation by the Thai Air Force is scheduled for 18 October.

On the same day, Foreign Minister Panpree Phahitthanukorn gave the press the most recent figures for casualties, revealing that 18 Thai workers have been taken hostage and the death toll has risen to 29 people, with 16 injured.

He added that another 250 Thai people are expected to arrive in Thailand in the evening. 6 people who expressed the intent to return to Thailand could not be reached. However, the Foreign Minister reaffirmed that there should be no serious concern. Other flights are being prepared for them.

Panpree remarked that there are positive signs for the release of hostages. He asserted that the government has already engaged with the relevant parties, including Israel and Middle Eastern countries with close ties to Palestine and Hamas.

He stated that there are 32 planned flights for evacuation, which could carry around 6,000 Thai workers, while approximately 7,500 people requested evacuation. He added that for the remaining roughly 1,500 Thais, the government is working with the airlines in the area to evacuate them as soon as possible.

There were approximately 30,000 Thai workers in Israel, 5,000 of them located near the Gaza border, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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