THAI Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said today (Nov. 3) that Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had called to inform that 20 out of 23 Thais held hostage by Hamas fighters are safe while a search is underway for two to three other captives, TV Channel 7 said.
Srettha said Anwar had told him that 12 hostages in one group and eight others in another group were being transported to the same place.
Asked by reporters whether the hostages’ families could now rest assured that they are safe, Srettha replied in the affirmative while underscoring that two to three other hostages had still to be found.
Anwar had confirmed that they were safe and would immediately inform us if there is any progress, he added.
Srettha also ordered the preparation of more evacuation flights from Israel even though right now no more Thai workers want to return. Officials had also been told to prepare the evacuation of Thais from other countries aside from Israel should this be necessary.
Israeli ground troops encircled Hamas stronghold Gaza City today (Nov. 3), after close ally the United States urged “concrete steps” to minimise civilian casualties, according to an AFP report published by CNA
Ahead of top US diplomat Antony Blinken’s scheduled visit to Israel today, the country’s military said it had “completed the encirclement” of Gaza’s largest city – signalling a new phase in the month-long war against Hamas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also on Thursday hailed victories so far, telling a group of elite soldiers that Israeli forces were “advancing” despite “painful losses”.
“We are in the midst of the campaign. We have very impressive successes,” he said at a base near Tel Aviv.
“We are already more than on the outskirts of Gaza City. We are advancing.”
But it is also home to about half a million Palestinians who have endured weeks of withering aerial bombardments, dwindling supplies and daily carnage.
Outside Gaza City’s Al-Quds hospital, displaced residents seeking shelter from Israeli strikes told AFP that civilians would not withstand the barrage much longer.
“This is not a life. We need a safe place for our kids,” said 50-year-old Hiyam Shamlakh. “Everybody is terrified, children, women and the elderly.”
But yet more carnage seems to lay ahead, as the conflict turns to urban and underground warfare – with Hamas fighting from a tunnel complex believed to span hundreds of kilometres.
A new video posted by Hamas sought to illustrate the devastating impact of its underground network, with a gunman seemingly emerging from a tunnel to plant an explosive on a nearby and unsuspecting Israeli tank.
The Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, insisted invading Israeli soldiers would go home “in black bags”.
Top: Palestinians look for survivors of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Nusseirat refugee camp, on Oct. 24, 2023. Photo: AP/Hatem Moussa and published by CNA
First insert: Palestinians gather at the site of Israeli strikes on houses in Bureij in the central Gaza Strip on Nov. 2, 2023. Photo: Reuters/Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa and published by CNA
Third insert: People walk along a street as a plume of smoke rises in the background during a strike on the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Nov 2, 2023. Photo: AFP/Mahmud Hams and published by CNA
Front Page: Houses and buildings destroyed in Israeli strikes, in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 11, 2023. Photo: Reuters/Anas al-Shareef and published by CNA
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