By Reuters – published by CNA, AP and Matichon
PRIME MINISTER Srettha Thavisin said upon arrival in Hong Kong at 12. 50 local time (1.50 p.m. in Thailand) that one more Thai had died in the attack on Israel by the Palestinian group Hamas, raising the death toll two with it being earlier reported that eight others were injured and 11 taken hostage, Matichon newspaper said.
Srettha said Ms. Phanpha Chandrarom, Thai ambassador to Israel, confirmed that one more Thai had now died.
The Prime Minister is paying an official visit to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore during Oct. 8-12, 2023.
Cambodia has some 450 students in Israel, the statement added.
Earlier at noon Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara said of the eight Thais injured five had been admitted to Soroka Hospital with three still waiting for help.
On top of this 11 other Thais have been captured by Hamas and while Thai authorities have contacted the Israeli government to officially confirm the impact on Thai workers they are unable to do so as yet because their forces are not in full control of the area while fighting is raging.
Although Prime Minister Srettha has ordered the air force to prepare an Airbus A340 and a C-130 Hercules aircraft to evacuate Thais in Israel with Air Force Chief ACM Phanpakdee Pattanakul acknowledging that he is ready to take action, airplanes cannot as yet land there as the airspace is closed.
Later Ambassador Phannapa said that fighting is continuing in the area, especially the edge of Gaza Strip with Israeli forces trying to retake the zone.
They have recaptured two-thirds of it but not the area where Thais are being held hostage.
She added that it is not just Thai workers who have been taken hostage but even Israelis and workers from other countries with the embassy closely following up on the situation.
Israeli forces continued clashing with gunmen from the Palestinian group Hamas today (Oct 8), 24 hours after the militants launched a surprise attack on Israel in which nearly 500 people were killed in the deadliest day of violence in Israel for 50 years, Reuters reported.
The conflict was spreading, with fire from Lebanon into northern Israel, which the armed group Hezbollah said it carried out “in solidarity” with the Palestinian people.
Israeli forces responded with artillery strikes into Lebanon and a drone attack on a Hezbollah post near the border, the military said. There were no reports of casualties.
The incursion from Gaza into southern Israel, the biggest in decades, could undermine US-backed efforts to forge regional security alignments that could threaten Palestinian aspirations for statehood and the ambitions of the group’s main backer, Iran.
Hamas fighters began their attack at dawn on Saturday with a huge barrage of rockets into southern Israel, giving cover to an unprecedented, multi-pronged infiltration of fighters into Israel from Gaza, a narrow strip that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians.
Hamas fighters killed at least 250 Israelis in clashes throughout the day and escaped back into Gaza with dozens of hostages. More than 230 Gazans were killed when Israel responded with one of its most devastating days of retaliatory strikes.
Israeli troops battled Hamas gunmen through the night in parts of southern Israel. An Israeli army spokesperson said on social media the situation was not fully under control.
The escalation comes against a backdrop of surging violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where a Palestinian authority exercises limited self-rule, opposed by Hamas that wants Israel destroyed.
The West Bank has seen stepped-up Israeli raids, Palestinian street attacks and assaults by Jewish settlers on Palestinian villages. Conditions for Palestinians have worsened under Netanyahu’s hard-right government. Peacemaking has been stalled for years.
Top: Israel has been carrying out retaliatory air strikes in Gaza. Photo: EPA and published by BBC
First insert: Israeli soldiers work to secure residential areas following a mass-infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: Reuters /Ammar Awad and published by CNA
Second insert: A masked militant from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, waves the green flag of the group during a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, in central Gaza Strip, on Aug 18, 2023. File photo: AP/ Adel Hana and published by CNA
Front Page: A mosque destroyed in Israeli strikes in southern Gaza. Photo Reuters and published by BBC