AMID news that Hamas fighters spoke in Thai to lure Thai workers hiding in their camps along the Gaza border and take them hostage, the Foreign Ministry last evening (Sept. 14) confirmed that Thais were not their special target, TV Channel 7 said.
Mrs. Kanchana Patarachoke, the ministry’s spokesperson, said both Israelis and foreigners have been taken capitve because there is a war raging at the Gaza border.
Hamas also issued a statement that three of the captives had died in the Israeli air strikes but as yet it is not known whether Thais are among them because their names had not been released.
Today at 4 p.m. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin will presiding over a meeting at the Foreign Ministry’s workers assistance centre and follow up on the situation in Israel.
Thousands of Palestinians fled the north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday (Oct. 14) from the path of an expected Israeli ground assault, while Israel pounded the area with more air strikes and said it would keep two roads open to let people escape, according to a Reuters report published by CNA.
Israel has vowed to annihilate the Hamas militant group that controls Gaza in retaliation for a rampage by fighters, who stormed through Israeli towns a week ago, gunning down civilians and making off with scores of hostages.
Israeli forces have since put the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, under a total siege and bombarded it with unprecedented air strikes. Gaza authorities say more than 2,200 people have been killed, a quarter of them children, and nearly 10,000 wounded.
Mr. Kriangsak Pansuri, 37, who has five months left of a five-year contract to work in Israel recounts the moment he escaped death and then returned to his home in Udon Thani, Naewna newspaper said last evening.
On the morning of Oct. 7 some rockets were fired across to the Israeli side from Gaza but he thought it was the usual exchange of gunfire which they had encountered before.
After that gunfire was heard close to his camp, and while he still did not think there would be any shooting, he hid behind a potato box and peeked out of there.
At first his group of Thai workers thought the Hamas fighters were Israeli soldiers and did not run away to hide.
However when a fighter started shooting in their direction they all ran off and hid in the forest from Oct. 7 night till noon the next day, when they returned to the camp to cook food and rest.
It did not end there with the Hamas fighters returning at around 4-5 p.m. and while most of his colleagues ran off to the forest, he and his friend hid in their room as they were unable to get away.
After the gunfire subsided there was the sound of two explosions followed by one of them calling out “Sawadee krub (Hello).”
No one was fooled because of the unclear Thai accent. When no workers came out, the fighters set fire to camp and he then dashed to the forest.
Another Thai worker who returned on Friday (Oct. 13) related that Hamas fighters seemed well prepared to Thais hostage because they spoke in Thai, saying, “Sawadee krub khon Thai (Hello Thai people)”, in searching their camp, Sanook.com said.
It was a ploy of draw them out of their hiding place and one of his colleagues thought someone had come to help them and almost got up but fortunately he pulled him back.
An image of Mr. Kriangsak Pansuri inset on a background of war raging along Gaza strip, above, and with family, insert. Photos: Naewna
Front Page: The first group of 41 Thai workers who returned on Thursday Oct. 12 with 15 flying back with the help of the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv and 26 others purchased their own tickets to do so. Another 19 workers returned last evening. Photo: Naewna