ISRAELI ambassador Mrs. Orna Sagiv has told a senior Labour Ministry official that there are 60 bodies of foreigners killed in the war with Hamas, all Asians, that have still to be identified, TV Channel 7 said today (Nov. 1).
Speaking to reporters after receiving the bodies of 11 Thai workers, Labour Ministry permanent-secretary Mr. Pairoj Chotikasathien said this is the third flight bringing the deceased back to Thailand out of a total death toll of 32.
There remains six more bodies of Thai workers in Israel to be brought back home and as the identities of two of them have been confirmed that they will soon be flown back.
The Israeli envoy mentioned that DNA testing had to be carried out to determine who these 60 foreign victims are, he said, adding he hoped Thais were not among them.
Ministry officials in various provinces have been visiting returning Thai workers at their home to process compensation of 50,000 baht plus another 15,000 baht from a fund to help overseas workers without their having to go to the office to file a claim.
However, of the 8,000 workers seeking compensation documents of 2,400 had been approved so far while the 15,000 baht is transferred within three days of submission of papers.
Mr. Aree Krainara, secretary to Labour Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, said 70 percent of the workers who returned from Israel want to go back there to work again.
However the Labour Ministry would have to consult with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and relevant agencies on how to proceed with this and the appropriate time for them to do so.
Gaza was plunged into another communications blackout today, with internet and phone service cut for several hours as Israeli troops battled Hamas militants. Meanwhile, dozens of foreign passport holders crowded into a border crossing ahead of what could be the first such departure from the besieged Palestinian enclave, according to an AP report published by Fox 19 Now.
Communications began to be restored after Gaza’s second such blackout in recent days, but aid agencies warned that the disruptions severely hamper their work in an already dire situation. Deadly airstrikes — including one that leveled apartment buildings in a refugee camp near Gaza City — have forced many to flee their homes, and basic supplies are running low.
New strikes hit apartment blocks in the Jabaliya camp for a second day in a row today, according to the Hamas-run government, which said many were killed or wounded, though the toll was not immediately known. Al-Jazeera television, which is still reporting from northern Gaza, aired footage of devastation and of several wounded people, including children, being brought to a nearby hospital.
Despite the deteriorating circumstances, no one has been allowed to leave Gaza, except for four hostages released by Hamas, since Israel declared a total siege in the wake of the militants’ bloody Oct. 7 rampage into southern Israel.
But an agreement appeared to have been reached today. The Palestinian crossing authority said more than 400 foreign passport holders would be permitted to leave for Egypt, as would some wounded people. Egypt has said it will not accept an influx of Palestinian refugees because of fears Israel will not allow them to return to Gaza after the war.
Dozens of people could be seen entering the Rafah crossing — the only one currently operating — and ambulances carrying wounded Palestinians exited on the Egyptian side. More than 80 Palestinians — out of many thousands wounded in the war — will be brought in for treatment, Egypt’s Health Ministry said, and a field hospital has been set up in an Egyptian town near the crossing.
But as a few hundred prepared to leave, the rest of of Gaza’s 2.3 million people found themselves cut off from the world — and each other — once again.
The Palestinian telecoms company Paltel said internet and mobile phone services were gradually being restored in Gaza following a “complete disruption.” Communications had earlier gone down over the weekend as Israeli troops pushed into Gaza in larger numbers.
Internet-access advocacy group NetBlocks.org attributed both disruptions to “measures imposed by Israel.” Alp Toker, the director the group, said “service remains significantly below pre-war levels.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross said communication blackouts make it harder for civilians to seek safety. “Even the potentially life-saving act of calling an ambulance becomes impossible,” said Jessica Moussan, an ICRC spokesperson.
Top: The bodies of 11 Thai workers that returned today, Nov. 1, 2023. Photo: Thai Rath
First insert: Palestinians inspect the damage of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes on Jabaliya refugee camp on the outskirts of Gaza City, on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Photo: AP Photo/Abdul Qader Sabbah and published by Fox 19 Now
Second insert: Palestinians evacuate survivors of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. Photo: AP/Hatem Ali and published by CNA
Front Page: An Israeli army artillery howitzer is stationed at a position along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on Oct. 31, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. Photo: AFP/Jack Guez and published by CNA