Bangkok, Nov 30 (EFE).- Four more Thais who were kidnapped by Hamas were released overnight, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Thursday, as the first group of released nationals were expected to arrive in Bangkok.
The four individuals were released along with 10 Israeli citizens, bringing the total number of Thai hostages released to 23, while another nine remain held, according to the ministry.
“MFA warmly extends its congratulations to the recently released and reiterates its urgent call for the release of the remaining hostages,” it said.
The Thais were admitted to the Shamir Medical Center in Tel Aviv where they were to “undergo the necessary medical checkups while (Royal Thai Embassy) staff are contacting their families, before returning to home to Thailand as soon as possible.”
Thais were the single biggest group of foreigners taken hostage when Hamas’ armed wing kidnapped around 240 people during its assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7.
The new release comes as Bangkok was preparing to receive a flight carrying the first group of released hostages on Thursday afternoon. The plane was scheduled to land in the Thai capital at 3.15 pm local time (08:15 GMT).
Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara was in Israel to greet the hostages released from the Gaza Strip.
Since the start of the Israel-Gaza war, Thailand has sought various ways to achieve the release of its nationals, including high-level negotiations and diplomatic trips to Egypt, Qatar and Iran.
So far, 97 hostages have been released from Gaza, including 73 Israelis and 24 foreigners, a key element of the temporary truce agreement that Qatar, the main mediator between Israel and Hamas, seeks to extend with the support of Egypt and the United States.
Israel has released 210 Palestinians, all women and children, as part of the exchange pact.
The country declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7 after the Islamist group’s attack killed some 1,200 people.
Israel’s fierce retaliation on the Palestinian enclave has since killed more than 15,000 people, according to authorities, most of them women and children, and it is estimated that thousands more are missing under the rubble. EFE