11/24/2023, 12.10
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Gaza: 23 Thai hostages also expected to be released with Tehran's mediation

Negotiations are being carried out by Iran, with a different channel than the truce with prisoner exchange brokered between Israel and Hamas. Among those kidnapped is a 35-year-old woman. The Thai Foreign Ministry 'welcomes' reports of a release, but there is still no official confirmation.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - There are hours of waiting and hope for the fate of the Thai citizens kidnapped by Hamas in the attack on Israel on 7 October, part of the large group of Asian migrants who make up the "forgotten face" of the hostages in Gaza.

According to the London-based pan-Arab site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, in fact, thanks to Iran's mediation, at least 23 out of a total of 26 could be freed in the next few hours. 

Sources in Bangkok report that at least 26 Thai citizens are detained by Hamas, while 39 were killed in the initial and heated phases of the terrorist attack on the heart of Israel. Three others are still hospitalized for more than a month and a half due to their serious injuries.

Before 7 October there were thousands of Thai citizens employed in the agricultural sector in Israel so much so that they constituted, as the Israeli government itself admitted, the "largest group" of foreign people killed or missing in Hamas attacks.

In these hours the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a note in which it "welcomes" the agreement on the release of the hostages "especially women and children" captured during the "violence" in Israel and Gaza.

This is an "important step forward after many weeks of intense negotiations" as well as "the humanitarian pause" to ensure that aid reaches "those who need it". Thailand, the note concludes, "reiterates its strong appeal" for the release of the hostages, among whom there is a large group of fellow citizens.

The release, ventilated by many parties but without official confirmation at the moment, is not linked to the agreement signed between Israel and Hamas itself, which provides for a four-day truce in the fighting and the release of some of the prisoners on both fronts.

According to an Egyptian source, the issue of Thai citizens is linked to a negotiation started thanks to the mediation of Iran between the Palestinian extremist group and Bangkok government officials.

Tehran provided the Thai counterpart with details on the condition of the fellow citizens seized and ready to be released. In recent days, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said she hoped that a pause in the fighting could allow the Thai hostages to leave Gaza safely; Last week a senior government official said he had received "reassurances" from Hamas that 25 of its citizens held hostage were "safe" and would be released within the next few days.

Among the hostages in the hands of Hamas there is also 35-year-old Nutthawaree Munkan (in the photo). The woman worked in a town on the border with the Strip, attacked by militiamen in the operation of 7 October and since then has found herself in the hands of the kidnappers, although her story has gone unnoticed in these hectic weeks in which the news has dominated the Israeli hostages.

The Thai government also kept a low profile and the disappearance of the young woman only emerged some time after the kidnapping thanks to an investigation published by Channel News Asia.

The article shows that her mother had not received any phone call from the government to be informed that her daughter was in the hands of the kidnappers. “It's already been a month. I'm still perplexed - the 56-year-old Boonyarin told Cna - as to who can help me... There has been no confirmation, no photo. Everything I learned came out of the news."

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