“Thai family members rejoice as hostages are released by Hamas, tears flowing from everyone’s eyes.”

According to the Thai government, the 10 hostages from Thailand who were freed on Friday are currently under supervision at an Israeli hospital. The government also stated that there are still 20 more Thai nationals who are being held captive.

According to a statement from Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10 individuals who were part of a group of 24 hostages released on Friday following a ceasefire are currently under the care of embassy officials at the Shamir Medical Center in the south-east region of Tel Aviv.

Pictures of the individuals who were released by the Thai government depict them happily posing with hospital staff. The group consists of nine males and one female.

The announcement of their freedom has been received with happiness and a sense of ease by their loved ones. “We are all overjoyed. Everyone is shedding tears,” stated Rungarun Wichangern, whose brother Vetoon Phoome, age 33, was among those released. He had been employed on a farm cultivating potatoes and pomegranates near Gaza.

According to her, she had communicated with him through a video call. Initially, she was crying, but he reassured her by saying, “Don’t be upset, don’t cry.” She observed that he appeared to be in good physical and mental condition as he was smiling. She also mentioned that he informed her that he had not been subjected to any torture.

Santi Boonphrom’s family, who was also freed, expressed their happiness to Thai media. His 35-year-old wife, Kanyaporn Raektaisong, shared with Matichon that she had prayed for his release multiple times and their son had become a monk for 15 days.

Kanyaporn, a resident of Buriram in north-east Thailand, expressed her desire to hear her husband say he is boarding a plane to return. She plans to go to the airport to greet him and make his favorite dish, canned fish stir-fry, in order to make him happy.

Santi’s mother, Nuanchan Chanjonm, 68, said she had cried every night waiting for his return, and was happy to know he was safe.

The prime minister of Thailand, Srettha Thavisin, expressed his gratitude to all those who aided in the group’s rescue and urged for the prompt release of the remaining “innocent Thai hostages.”

On Friday, the group of hostages released included 13 individuals from Israel and one from the Philippines.

On X, Philippine leader Ferdinand Marcos expressed his happiness in announcing the release of Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco, who had been held captive by Hamas during the 7 October attacks while working as a carer.

Marcos reported that Noralyn Babadilla, a Filipino citizen, is still unaccounted for. He stated that they are making every effort to find and ensure her safety if she is indeed one of the hostages.

The Thai government’s foreign affairs department reported that an additional 20 Thai citizens are currently in captivity, which is higher than the previous estimate. This is because four individuals who were released on Friday had not been officially identified as hostages.

The group, released on Friday, will remain at the hospital for a minimum of 48 hours. The Thai embassy is currently making arrangements for their return to Thailand. The ministry clarified that the earlier report stating that 12 Thais had been released was inaccurate.

The ministry expressed their hope for the safe and humane release of the remaining hostages as soon as possible.

Prior to the conflict, approximately 30,000 laborers from Thailand were hired in the agricultural industry in Israel. Of these, around 5,000 were stationed near the Gaza Strip. Due to economic reasons, a significant number of Thais from impoverished, countryside regions relocate to Israel in search of better paying jobs. According to Israeli officials, this group makes up the largest percentage of foreign nationals who have been killed or unaccounted for during the Hamas assaults.

The Thai government reports that 39 citizens have died and three are still hospitalized.

After weeks of discussions, the Thai government successfully secured the release of their nationals on Friday. They had engaged in talks with officials from Qatar and Egypt, as well as a two-hour meeting with Hamas in Tehran. Additionally, they received backing from Malaysia, a neighboring country known for its strong support of Palestine and lack of diplomatic ties with Israel.

The 10 individuals from Thailand who were released were brought to Rafah and then taken to the Kerem Shalom crossing. They were then transported to a processing center at Hatzerim air force base, as stated by the Thai government.

Last Saturday, Thailand expressed gratitude to the governments and organizations that aided in the successful release of the first group. The Thai government would like to reiterate their sincere appreciation to all parties who provided assistance and support, including Qatar, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, and the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), as well as other individuals involved in the extensive efforts that led to this recent release.

Source: theguardian.com