Thai authorities confirms deaths of 2 Thais held hostage in Gaza

Photo by Leo Correa via AP

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) yesterday revealed that two out of the eight Thai workers held hostage by Hamas died during an offensive in October last year.

PPTV HD reported that IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari identified the deceased as Sonthaya Oakkharasri and Sudthisak Rinthalak, both of whom previously worked in agriculture at the Be’eri kibbutz, about 4 kilometres from Gaza.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand confirmed the deaths in an official announcement. According to the ministry, Israeli authorities reviewed the available evidence before concluding that the two men had died. The ministry expressed its condolences to their families and called for the release of the six remaining hostages.

According to PPTV HD, about 30,000 Thai nationals were working in Israel, mostly in agricultural communities near Gaza, before the attack. The attack resulted in the deaths of at least 39 Thai nationals, and 31 were taken hostage.

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In November last year, 23 Thai hostages were released. Thai and Israeli authorities believed that eight Thais remained captive in Gaza until evidence confirmed the deaths of Sonthaya and Sudthisak.

The spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Nikorndate Palangkul, emphasised that the Thai government has been working with authorities from various countries to secure the release of both Thai and international hostages.

Nikorndate expressed condolences for the losses, noting that Thailand had not received prior reports indicating that the confrontation would affect Thai hostages.

Thai Prime Minister of Thailand Srettha Thavisin expressed his condolences via his Twitter (X) account.

“I am deeply saddened to learn that the two Thai hostages in Gaza, namely Mr Sonthaya Oakkharasri and Mr Sudthisak Rinthalak are now confirmed deceased. I offer my deepest condolences to both of their families. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Embassy in Tel Aviv will provide all necessary assistance required. The Thai Government will continue to do our utmost to secure the release of the remaining hostages.”

The Hotline for Refugees and Immigrants (HRM) revealed that the announcement of Sonthaya’s death on May 16 coincided with his birthday.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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