Bangkok, Nov 28 (EFE).- The 17 Thai nationals released by Hamas during the ongoing ceasefire with Israel will return to Thailand on Thursday, while another 15 remain captive by the Palestinian Islamist group.
Thai foreign minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday to meet the freed hostages, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Parnpree will also visit the hospital to meet the three Thais injured during the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas in southern Israel.
The minister will return to Thailand along with the released Thais on Thursday afternoon, the statement added.
A foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters that the government was still finalizing the details due to the multiple factors involved in the process.
The release of the Thai hostages is not part of the four-day truce agreement reached between Israel and Hamas.
Thai authorities sought different ways to secure the release of its nationals, including high-level negotiations and diplomatic trips to Egypt, Qatar, and Iran.
Ten Thais were released on Friday, the first day of the truce agreed between Israel and Hamas, while four were released on Saturday and another three on Sunday.
Of the total 32 Thais held hostage since Oct. 7, 15 still remain captive.
“For the remaining 15 Thai hostages, the Royal Thai Government continues to exert all efforts towards their safe release at the earliest opportunity, while preparing to bring back the now 17 Thais who have already been released, back to Thailand after their preliminary checks as soon as possible,” the ministry said in Monday’s statement.
Some 30,000 Thais were in Israel, including 5,000 employees near Gaza, at the time of Hamas’ assault, of whom more than 10,000 have already returned to Thailand, although the majority have chosen to stay back.
The truce between Hamas and Israel, mediated by Qatar, Egypt, and the US, calls for the release of 50 Israeli hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners.
Since the exchanges began on Friday, Israel has freed 117 Palestinian women and teenagers, while Hamas has released 58 people, including 40 Israelis, 17 Thais, and one Filipino.
On Monday, Israel and Hamas extended the truce agreement for two more days.
Israel declared war on Hamas on Oct. 7 after the Islamist group’s attack killed some 1,200, both soldiers and civilians and kidnapped more than 240 in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s fierce retaliation on the Palestinian enclave has since killed more than 14,800 people, most of them women and children, according to authorities.
More than 7,000 people are estimated to be buried under the rubble. EFE