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Hamas Releases Only 10 Kidnapped Thai Citizens, 20 Still Being Held Captive

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Hamas Releases Only 10 Thai Citizens

Ten Thai hostages kidnapped during Hamas’ attacks on Israel have been released as part of a four-day ceasefire agreement, Thailand’s foreign ministry announced on Saturday.

Hamas released 24 hostages on Friday, including 13 Israelis and one person from the Philippines. In exchange, 150 Palestinians were freed from Israeli prisons, and humanitarian aid was sent to Gaza.

The 10 Thai hostages crossed into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing on Friday evening and were taken to Hatzerim air base for processing before being transferred to the Shamir Medical Center in Israel.

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Saturday that the group would remain in the hospital for at least 48 hours, with embassy officials making arrangements for their return to Thailand and their families as soon as possible.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had previously announced on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) that 12 Thai nationals had been freed. However, the foreign ministry confirmed on Saturday that the number was 10, with 20 still in captivity.

Thailand expressed gratitude to the governments of Qatar, Israel, Egypt, Iran, and Malaysia for their assistance in negotiating the release of the 10 hostages. The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously reported 26 Thai hostages in Hamas captivity on Nov. 21, but it was later clarified that four of the hostages had been released on Friday.

“We sincerely hope that the remaining hostages will be treated humanely and released safely as soon as possible,” the ministry stated.

The Thai workers were kidnapped from agricultural areas in southern Israel after Hamas breached a fence separating Gaza from Israel. Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara had visited Qatar and Egypt and met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to seek the release of the Thai nationals, who were the largest group of foreigners abducted by Palestinian militant groups.

Before the war, around 30,000 Thais worked in Israel, mostly as farm laborers. Since the fighting began, about a third have returned home, while the rest have chosen to stay in Israel. At least 32 Thai nationals have died, and 19 have been injured.

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also confirmed on Saturday the release of Filipino national Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco, who is now in the custody of the Philippine Embassy in Israel.

“We remain concerned about the whereabouts of our other national, Ms. Noralyn Babadilla, and we are sparing no effort to locate and secure her if she is indeed found to be one of the hostages,” Marcos said in a statement.

The four-day truce between Israel and Hamas is the first break in the fighting, providing an opportunity to deliver crucial humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s 2.3 million people who have been displaced by Israel’s intense bombardment of the area.

According to the Associated Press, more than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its offensive against Hamas, as reported by the Health Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Both sides have indicated that hostilities will resume after the ceasefire ends. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to eliminate Hamas and end its 16-year rule of the strip.

About Hamas and the Israeli Attack

A series of coordinated attacks, led by the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas, from the Gaza Strip into bordering areas in Israel, commenced on 7 October 2023, a Sabbath day and date of several Jewish holidays.

The unexpected assault included a series of rockets, with about 3,000 fighters breaking through the Gaza–Israel barrier and launching attacks on Israeli military bases, civilian areas, and a music festival near Re’im. The attacks intentionally aimed at civilians, resulting in the deaths of over 800 civilians and more than 200 soldiers, as well as an estimated 240 Israeli and foreign individuals being taken captive in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is a Palestinian political and militant organization. It was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule). Hamas has both political and military wings and is considered a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, including the United States, the European Union, and Israel.

The group’s stated objectives include the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, and resistance to what it views as Israeli occupation.

 

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