Thai hostages secured release promise from Hamas post Gaza offensive

Photo: SaiyidSulaiman Husaini Facebook

Thai captives held hostage in Israel by Hamas have been promised release upon Israel’s cessation of its Gaza Strip offensive. This assurance was provided to Thai negotiators by Hamas representatives, as relayed by Saiyid Sulaiman Husaini, a Thai Muslim leader and head of a Shia Muslims association in Thailand.

The promise was made during a meeting held at the office of an Iranian president’s adviser. The negotiation team present included Areepen Utarasin, Lerpong Sayed and Sayyid Mumin Sakkitticha, all appointed by Parliament President Wan Muhamad Noor Matha. Areepen, an adviser to the Parliament president, confirmed the talks took place last week in Teheran.

Husaini stated that Hamas agreed to the release of Thai hostages in the Gaza Strip once Israel agreed to a ceasefire or ended its offensive. The safety of the hostages is paramount and currently, their evacuation from Gaza is not viable.

Hamas confirmed holding 19 Thai hostages, all reported to be safe and in good health. The names of three other Thai captives reported by the Foreign Ministry are yet to be verified by Hamas.

According to Husaini, the only feasible evacuation route would be the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, situated in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. This would necessitate the Thai government seeking approval and assistance from Egypt.

Releasing Thai Hostages

Areepen, addressing Parliament, confirmed his group’s meeting with Hamas representatives. He relayed that the captives were being well looked after so they could eventually share their experiences of living with Hamas with the international community. A release time frame was not provided by Hamas, citing the potential triggering of an attack that could be misinterpreted as Hamas harming the hostages.

The delegation chose Teheran for negotiations due to Iran’s supportive relationship with Hamas and the influence they hold over the group. Areepen added that their delegation was the first to officially negotiate with Hamas since the Israel-Hamas conflict started, reported Bangkok Post.

Government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke announced that the last government-chartered flight for Thai evacuation was scheduled for 5pm today from the Intercontinental Tel Aviv Hotel. Although evacuations will continue, the numbers no longer warranted chartered flights.

The Thai embassy in Tel Aviv announced that the bodies of 11 more Thais killed in the conflict were being sent back home on El Al flight LY083, scheduled to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 12.40pm today. This marks the third flight returning Thai casualties of the Hamas-Israel war.

So far, 32 Thai workers have been reported killed, 22 taken hostage and 19 injured.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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