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Panpree urgently flies to Qatar, Egypt for talks on freeing hostages


FOREIGN Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara is urgently flying to Qatar and Egypt for emergency talks with their leaders to help free 22 Thais held hostage by Hamas fighters as the Israel-Hamas war intensifies, TV Channel 7 said this morning (Oct. 31).

As instructed by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Parnpree will also be promoting bilateral relations and discussing other issues of common interest.

The foreign minister will hold talks with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Doha today and do so with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo tomorrow.

Panpree said he had already discussed the freeing of Thai hostages with the authorities of both countries several times and pointed out that Thais went to Israel to earn a living and did not have a conflict with anyone.

Right now it is uncertain where all the hostages are whether they are still in Gaza or have been moved to another  country, he said, adding that the Thai government is open to all channels of negotiation with Hamas on freeing the Thai hostages.

He again urged Thais to return home from Israel as quickly as possible as no one knows how long this war will last.

As of Sunday Oct. 29 aside from the 22 Thais taken captive 32 have died while 19 injured.

Meanwhile Hamas said its militants in Gaza fired anti-tank missiles at Israel’s invading forces early today (Oct. 31) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls for a halt to fighting that has deepened the Palestinian enclave’s humanitarian crisis, according to a Reuters report published by US News & World Report.

Israel has expanded ground operations in Gaza as it seeks to punish the Strip’s ruling Hamas movement for a deadly gun rampage three weeks ago that Israeli authorities say killed over 1,400 people.

Witnesses said Israeli forces targeted Gaza’s main north-south road on Monday and attacked Gaza City from two directions. Israel said its troops freed a soldier from Hamas captivity, one of 239 hostages who Israel says were captured on Oct. 7.

The al-Qassam brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said militants clashed early today with Israeli forces “invading the southern Gaza axis, (including) with machine guns, and targeted four vehicles with al-Yassin 105 missiles,” referring to locally produced anti-tank missiles.

The militants also targeted two Israeli tanks and bulldozers in northwest Gaza with the missiles, al-Qassam said.

Reuters was not able to confirm the reports of fighting. Israel’s military had no immediate comment.

Gaza health authorities say that 8,306 people, including 3,457 minors, have been killed in Israeli attacks since Oct. 7. UN officials say more than 1.4 million of Gaza’s civilian population of about 2.3 million have been made homeless.

The mounting death toll has drawn calls from the US, Israel’s top ally, other countries and the UN for a pause in fighting to allow more humanitarian aid to reach the enclave.

Netanyahu said late on Monday that Israel would not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas in Gaza and would press ahead with its plans to wipe out the group.

“Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks.

Military specialists said Israeli forces are moving slowly in their ground offensive in part to keep open the possibility that Hamas militants will negotiate the release of the hostages.

The relative caution with which Israeli troops have taken and secured slices of territory in the first days of sustained ground operations in Gaza stands in contrast to the past three weeks of unrelenting air strikes on the Mediterranean enclave, as well as to Israel’s previous land offensives there.

‘Disaster on top of disaster’

Israel’s military said it struck more than 600 militant targets in recent days in Gaza, where Palestinian civilians are in dire need of fuel, food and clean water.

The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) said that water supply through a pipeline from Israel to southern Gaza was cut off on Monday “for unknown reasons”, and that an announced repair of another pipeline to central Gaza did not take place.

“At the time of writing, no water is provided to Gaza from Israel,” OCHA said on its website.

Significantly fewer humanitarian aid trucks have reached the besieged enclave than are required, UN officials said, and civil order has broken down with people storming UN warehouses in search of food.

That has put four UN aid distribution centres and a storage facility out of action, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Monday.

“It’s a disaster on top of a disaster. Health needs are soaring and our ability to meet those needs is rapidly declining,” World Health Organization regional emergencies chief Rick Brennan said, reiterating international calls for a ceasefire to enable a larger humanitarian operation.

Aid trucks have been trickling into Gaza from Egypt over the past week via Rafah, the main crossing that does not border Israel. It has become the main point of aid delivery since Israel imposed a “total siege” of Gaza after Oct. 7.

The White House said it was working to get more aid trucks into Gaza.


Hamas released a video on Monday that showed three hostages seized by the Islamist movement on Oct. 7.

The women – identified by Netanyahu as Yelena Trupanob, Danielle Aloni and Rimon Kirsht – sat side by side against a bare wall, and Aloni addressed an angry message to the prime minister.

Netanyahu condemned the video as “cruel psychological propaganda” and said Israel’s ground campaign created possibilities for rescuing the hostages.

The conflict has led to demonstrations worldwide in support of the Palestinians, and antisemitic and Islamophobic harassment.

Biden administration officials, voicing alarm at reports of anti-Jewish incidents at US universities, met American Jewish leaders on Monday to discuss steps to counter the surge, a White House official said.


Top: Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara against a backdrop of Israel-Hamas war. Credit: TV Channel 7

Insert: Palestinians leave their homes following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City yesterday. Oct. 30, 2023. Photo: AP/Abed Khaled and published by CNA

Front Page: An explosion is pictured in the Gaza Strip, as seen from Israel, October 30, 2023. Photo: Reuters/Amir Cohen and published by US News & World Report

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PM tells Thais in Israel to change their minds and return immediately

As many as 54 Thais taken hostage: Israeli Govt

Another Thai worker dead in Israel-Hamas war

Less than 1,000 Thais in Israel’s red zone but flights back not full

Srettha urges Thai workers in Israel to return and not be lured by money


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